Windows 8 Final Expected by Late 2012, say Experts

Dennis Faas's picture

Analysts are using the recent announcement by Microsoft of a February 29, 2012, Windows 8 Consumer Preview event to predict that the company's next operating system (OS) should become commercially available late in calendar 2012.

The forecast is based on timelines from previous Windows releases.

On Wednesday, February 8, Microsoft revealed the date for its Windows 8 Consumer Preview in Barcelona, Spain: February 29, 2012.

Journalists invited to the event, which coincides with the World Mobile Congress in that city, will get the first official look at a beta version of the upcoming operating system.

Microsoft typically unveils Consumer Previews of this kind just before the start of beta testing. (Source:

Windows Vista the Only Exception to the Rule

If the Consumer Preview occurs as scheduled, analysts believe we'll see a final version of Windows 8 before the end of the year.

This prediction is based on Microsoft historical patterns. For example, the public beta for Windows 7 started in January 2009, and its commercial release came the following October.

Prior to that, Windows XP entered the beta stages during the early months of 2001, and eventually hit retail shelves in October of that year.

Only Windows Vista exhibited an exception to this rule: Beta testing for that OS began in 2005 but the commercial version didn't actually reach retailers until early 2007.

Of course, given the fact that Windows Vista was extremely unpopular among consumers, it's likely Microsoft will work to make it the exception to the rule in more ways than one. (Source:

Rush to Retail Tied to Tablet Market

So, why rush a new operating system to market when Windows 7 has proven so popular?

Experts believe it's because Microsoft needs to gain more traction in the competitive (and lucrative) tablet market. Unlike Windows 7, Windows 8 is built from the ground-up for those kinds of devices.

Not only is Windows 8 geared toward touch-screen displays, it also employs the Metro interface already used on the Windows Phone platform.

Recent reports have shown that Windows devices account for just 1.5 per cent of the tablet market, a far lower market share than that controlled by Apple (58 per cent) and Android (39 per cent).

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