Microsoft's next Windows update codenamed "Blue"

Microsoft will be ready to launch Windows 8 on October 26th, but already details are emerging of the company's next iteration of the OS. ZDNet reports that there are several references to Windows 9 already doing the rounds, but that the next version of the operating system won't carry that name. Instead, sources indicate that the next version is codenamed "Blue". The update is due to land sometime next year, but it most likely won't include a major overhaul.

Two possibilities are on the table for Blue. The first may simply be that Microsoft is accelerating its release schedule to match that of mobile operating systems. Android and iOS typically see big updates around once per year, whereas Windows often goes several years without a major update, instead relying on smaller upgrades and service packs to keep the OS up to date.

Blue could be what Microsoft would consider to be a service pack, applying updates and fixes for issues in Windows 8 that the company will no doubt keep track of after the OS has launched in October. It could also be a feature pack, adding new features into the mix on top of fixes. Whatever the case may be, Blue is currently on target for a Summer 2013 release, according to ZDNet's sources.

Microsoft will officially roll out Windows 8 on October 26th, offering Windows 7 users the chance to upgrade for $39.99. Anyone currently using the test versions of Windows 8 will also be able to upgrade for the same price and carry over some information between installs, although user critical information will be wiped in the process. Microsoft's Surface tablet will also be released around the same timeframe to tie in with the Windows 8 launch.