Microsoft - Live Event - Windows 8 Tablet - 007

Microsoft recently said that the latest version of Windows 8, also known as Windows 8.1 but codenamed Windows Blue, will be available later this year. Now the company has gone on the record stating that the public preview will be available by the end of next month. Talk about a quick turnaround.

ZDNET confirmed the report with Microsoft, which reportedly announced the information during a Wired Business Conference earlier Tuesday. ZDNET's Mary Jo Foley tried to dig deeper to find out if there will be a new public preview of Windows RT at the same time, but Microsoft chose not to discuss that right now. Windows RT will really need a bit of a revamp in order to attract consumers who may be put off by the general lack of applications for the watered-down version of Windows 8.

We're expecting a form of the Start button to return, perhaps not the whole menu, as well as an option to boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop instead of the tile-based interface.