Microsoft will host a Windows 8 Consumer Preview event in Barcelona Feb. 29. That's likely the launch date of Windows 8 beta.
almost certainly use this years Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as the
venue for whipping back the curtain from its Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The
company has sent eWEEK
media an invitation to a Windows 8 Consumer Preview-themed event at 3 pm Feb.
29 at the Hotel Miramar.
If a release
of the Consumer Preview is indeed in the making, thats in line with
Microsofts previous predictions that the Windows 8 beta (Consumer Preview is
a fancy synonym) would arrive sometime in February. Its widely expected that
the release version of the next-generation operating system will hit the market
late in 2012.
In a bid to
expand Windows reach to tablets and more mobile form factors, Microsofts
engineers have subjected the operating system to some fairly radical alterations.
Chief among them: a start-screen based around large, colorful tiles linked to
applications. That interface conforms to the same Metro design aesthetic
underlying many of Microsofts properties, including Windows Phone and the
latest Xbox dashboard. In theory, those big tilesalong with other features
such as a mobile-applications storefrontwill facilitate Windows 8s operation
By hosting the
event at the Mobile World Congress, Microsoft is again re-emphasizing its aim
to make Windows 8 a major player in the mobile arena.
Those who want
a more traditional Windows experience can flip from that start-screen to a
desktop interface with a single tap or click. For power users, Microsofts
teams are busy tweaking Windows 8s file systems for more streamlined and
powerful operation. While many of those adjustments are in
response to feedbackat least according to Microsofts official Building
blogsome of its revisions have proven a bit controversial:
the companys decision to include a ribbon user interface for Windows
Explorer, for example, attracted ire from those who dislike that particular
releases in late 2012, Windows 8 will arrive exactly three years after Windows
7 hit the market. That could make it a hard sell to customers and businesses
that recently upgraded. Over the past few months, Microsoft executives have
taken pains to emphasize Windows 8s enhancements and tweaks to longtime
In the tablet
arena, Microsoft will face competition of an altogether different sort: Apples
iPad, currently the dominant device in that segment. The burgeoning number of
Google Android tablets also present significant competition.
keynote address at this years Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer suggested that Windows 8 on tablets would surpass those rival devices
by offering heavy-duty functionality. People dont want to compromise on what
they have today, he told the audience. They want the best of what they have,
and the best of what they want.
Preview will give consumers their first chance to see whether Windows 8 indeed
achieves that lofty goal.
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