Report: Next Windows 8.1 update in March to slim down the software

Update 1 for Windows 8.1(s msft) could hit in March but don’t expect major visible changes. Noted Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley reported the expected software release on Friday, with her sources saying March 11 is the planned day. With Microsoft’s Build developer event in April, Update 1 is very likely a minor tweak to Microsoft’s operating system.

Per Foley, don’t expect the Start menu to be tweaked too heavily, if at all:

“I’m still not hearing that the new expected “mini” Start menu will arrive with Windows 8.1 Update; instead, I’m thinking it’s likely to show up some time in the next 12 months, either as part of a second Windows 8.1 update or not until Windows “Threshold,” which is believed to be targeted to arrive in April 2015.”

That doesn’t mean the update won’t be useful, though. Foley’s sources say Update 1 will trim and slim the software so that it could work on devices with less memory and hard drive space. That’s ideal for Intel(s intc) Atom-powered tablets, some of which come with 2 GB of memory and relatively limited storage, for example.

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Bigger changes for Windows are expected out of the Build conference in early April. I’ve heard various reports of Microsoft merging Windows RT with Windows Phone to some degree but it’s possible that’s really part of a broader merger of sorts. With more shared code and APIs made available to developers, it would be beneficial if apps could be written once to run on all of Microsoft’s Windows products, for example, on phones, tablets and traditional PCs.

If that happens, it could attract more developers to the platform as it increases the range of devices their apps can be sold on.