Evidence continues to grow that Microsoft is planning on updating both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in a single “Blue” update later this year.
A pair of Microsoft job ads have emerged hinting at some of what Blue will deliver, and supporting the “late summer 2013” release window referred to in previous rumour pieces.
Once again it's ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley who appears to be most in the know. The first job post is for a software development engineer on the Microsoft Careers site, and refers to development work on the Windows UI including “most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalisation.”
The post adds that “Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.”
A separate job post for the Mobile Excel Office team calls for a “seasoned development lead who is willing to re-imagine the Excel experiences for the next version of Windows Phone... to help realise the vision of a high-quality Excel app for Windows Phone Blue.”
Reference is also made to the “Excel MX team”, which is said to be tasked with developing “a not-yet-delivered, fully touch-optimised and Metro Style/Windows Store version of Excel”.
Needless to say, the specifics remain vague at this point, but the timing of the two posts' appearance and the common ground they appear to cover supports the theory that the Blue update will not only be appearing for both platforms in a similar timeframe, but will continue the work of bringing Windows and Windows Phone closer together, both in terms of the end user experience, and the back end mechanics of how they're structured and inter-operate.
Applications for both posts has now closed, but the ZDNet piece includes excerpts from the Windows 8 posting, and a screenshot of the Windows Phone Excel one.
What the updates will actually be named remains to be seen. It's unlikely that the Blue name will remain as a final title, but Foley also suggests the nature of the updates suggests we're looking more at a Windows/Windows Phone 8.x service pack rather than a full-blown Version 9.