There’s no known release date for Windows Blue (aka: Windows “8.1”), but already a pre-release version has found itself floating around the Web. By all appearances, Blue will look little different on the surface than 8, but already some people have found a number of enhancements to the OS. These are still early days, too, so chances are good that we’ll see many more changes come to future leaked versions of the OS (yes, there are surely going to be more).
One of the most noticeable differences with Blue is that the Start screen allows you to use both larger and smaller tile sizes. Now, the smallest size is 1/4th the size of the previous smallest, and the largest tiles are 2x the previous largest.
As the shot above shows, Microsoft has amped-up the level of customization with regards to the Start screen. Now, instead of being forced to choose from a limited number of color options, you have free reign to choose whatever you want for the background and accent. Unfortunately, and for whatever stupid reason, Microsoft still isn’t letting people choose their own background image.
Another noticeable change is the ability to run two apps (as in, inside the Modern UI) side-by-side. Read news in one, listen to music in the other.
Overall, these enhancements are nice, but in my mind they should have shipped with Windows 8 to begin with. None of them are major by any stretch, and even now, the level of customization is still heavily lacking. Again though, we’re early in the Blue development process, so we’ll see how things progress from now until launch.