Microsoft is gearing up to release its first public preview version of Windows Blue at its Build developer conference in late June. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed that the company started work on a "milestone preview" version of Windows Blue earlier this month. The code, a second milestone of the next version of Windows, will go on to form a public preview that will be made available to developers and enthusiasts during the company's Build conference.

After holding Build at its campus in Redmond in October last year, Microsoft is moving to San Francisco for its latest Build developer conference in late June. The company acknowledged its Blue codename earlier this week, noting that it's unlikely the final product will be called Windows Blue. An early milestone build leaked to the internet recently, providing a first look at some of the features that Microsoft is planning for its Windows 8 upgrade.

New Snap Views key to 7- and 8-inch plans

We're told that Microsoft is working on a number of new first-party Windows 8 applications, in addition to the alarms, sound recorder, calculator, and movie moments applications that were revealed in a recent leak. One of the big changes in Blue, deprecating the existing Snap View, will be implemented fully in the milestone preview. We understand that running apps side-by-side in a variety of ways is a key part of Microsoft's plans to introduce Windows Blue to 7- and 8-inch devices. Microsoft is removing a resolution limit on its Snap View, allowing OEMs to push the operating system to lower screen sizes. Sources have revealed that applications will also be able to occupy multiple Snap Views, allowing you to read your Inbox while composing an email side-by-side, or the ability to see two Internet Explorer tabs open side-by-side.

Microsoft is only planning one public preview version of Windows Blue, with the final software and new hardware expected to ship later this year.