Windows 8 releasing in October 2012
Microsoft’s new flagship OS series, Windows 8, is set for release in October 2012. The move was announced by CEO Steve Ballmer at their Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto today.
It’s been 3 years since the launch of Windows 7 and Microsoft are undoubtedly hoping that this latest version will make some headway in terms of countering the influence of Apple, particularly in the mobile sector. Whereas Windows 7 was essentially an incremental change, Windows 8 is a complete redesign of the Windows OS.
The biggest change is that Windows 8 User Interface is based on the company’s Metro design language. It is a huge change in the way users interact with Windows, navigation now being based on a series of tiles. As you can see below.
The new interface is designed to be more touchscreen friendly and thus less reliant on the keyboard / mouse approach, an important factor to consider as this OS will also be rolled out (in some form) to Windows phones and the soon to be released Windows Surface tablet.
Microsoft’s announcement today details that the new OS will be at Release to Manufacturing (RTM) stage in August, to allow Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and Lenovo to install it on new machines, ready to be shipped at the General Availability (GA) date. That time for general availability has been set for October though no details have been released on what the exact date will be.
Microsoft have already announced a number of offers for customers who are looking to upgrade to Windows 8. Those who buy a Windows 7 PC between June 2nd 2012 and January 2013 will be able to purchase the upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99 while those upgrading from Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 who purchased before those dates will be able to avail of the $39.99 offer.
I haven’t had a chance to look at Windows 8 yet and, unsurprisingly I suppose, I am slightly hesitant about the news that Microsoft has redesigned its user interface. From a PC standpoint I’ve always found the Microsoft OS extremely simple to use so I’m curious as to how the changes will improve the user experience. Microsoft have said that Windows 8 is the “most-tested operating system ever,” let’s hope all this testing has paid off.