Windows 8 Launch Set For 26 October

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Windows 8 Chrome Metro

The official delivery date for Windows 8 is 26 October, meaning the software will be available for the Christmas shopping season

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will be generally available on 26 October of this year. That means the much-anticipated operating system will be available for PCs shipping for the Christmas shopping season.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference last week in Toronto, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be released to manufacturers (RTM) during the first week in August and would be available on PCs at the end of October. Then on 18 July at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting, known as the Microsoft Global Exchange or MGX, Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows at Microsoft, announced that Windows 8 would be available on 26 October.

October launch

In a brief post on The Windows Blog, Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc said, “…customers will be able to get Windows 8 – whether in upgrade fashion or on a new PC – starting on 26 October.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that upgrades to Windows 8 from previous versions of the operating system will go for $39.99 (£24) via download and $69.99 if purchased in a store. The low-cost upgrade is positioned as a promotion available only from the time Windows 8 ships this fall until 31 January, 2013, Microsoft said. Users running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be able to download Windows 8 Pro in 131 markets.

Meanwhile, with the general release of Windows 8, Microsoft also will introduce its new Surface tablet computers to the market, but only the Windows RT-based model. In June, Microsoft announced its new Surface tablet computers, noting that two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro.

At an 18 June launch event in Los Angeles, Microsoft said Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the US and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

In a 16 April post on the Windows Team Blog, LeBlanc laid out details on the various versions of Windows 8: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT and Windows 8 Enterprise.

Flexibility

“Windows 8 has the flexibility you need – whether you’re on an x86/64 or a WOA [Windows on ARM] PC,” LeBlanc said. “You can use a touch screen or a keyboard and mouse – and switch anytime. It’s beautiful, fast, and fluid design is perfect for a wide range of hardware. And you’ll love browsing through the Windows Store and downloading all the apps you want. And those apps can work together too so you can share photos, maps, contacts, links and whatever else you want faster and easier. All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience.”

In addition to releasing Windows 8 to manufacturers in August, Microsoft also will RTM Windows Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 at the same time. Windows Server 2012 is expected to be available to customers in September, but Microsoft has not said exactly when Visual Studio 2012 will become available.

Moreover, with the date set for delivery of Windows 8, developers will be more keen than ever to learn as much as possible about developing apps for the platform. However, Microsoft has not yet said whether or when there will be another BUILD or Windows 8 developer conference.

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