Microsoft will officially introduce Windows 8 Oct. 25 and Windows Phone 8 Oct. 29. The news arrives as invitations to the company's events reached media in-boxes Oct. 4 but were surprises, really, to nobody.
Both dates have been circled on industry calendars since at least Aug. 29, when ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley wrote that a source had tipped her off to them. The first event will take place in New York, she wrote, while the second would take place in either Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Allowing Microsoft some of the fun, it confirmed that journalists will head north on the Oct. 29, with an image on its invites of classic San Francisco architecture. Start time: 10 a.m. PT.
Likely, the location isn't all that Microsoft has managed to keep to itself. While lots of details have been shared about both operating systems, Microsoft fans can expect the company to "at long last, disclose the full set of features it has baked into the Windows Phone 8 operating system," Foley wrote in an Oct. 4 post.
On Oct. 29, Foley added, developers can also expect the software development kit (SDK) for the OS, "later than expected, wanted or needed by many."
A very real possibility is that Microsoft will use the event to introduce a smartphone of its own design—just as it stepped out ahead of its tablet partners this summer and introduced the Surface, a rare hardware offering from the software giant.
WPCentral and the China Times—as well as one can gather from Google Translate—have reported that Microsoft has designed a smartphone that is now in the testing phase.
China Times, reporting that phones has been months in the works, echoed a sentiment that came out with the Surface—that it's Microsoft's way of not leaving its vision for Windows Phone 8's materials, design, service, or software and hardware integration "in the hands of others."
WPCentral wrote that its unnamed source didn't share details about hardware specifications or launch times. "The only thing we do know," it wrote, "is compared to current WP8 hardware, it's something unique."
Nokia has introduced the Lumia 920 and 820, which AT&T will begin offering in November. And while Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft man, called Nokia the "lead mobile partner for Microsoft" during the company's last earnings call, HTC's newest phones may offer a better idea of Microsoft's vision for Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft CEO Stephen Ballmer, alongside HTC CEO Peter Chou, introduced the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S at a Sept. 19 event in New York. The pair said they plan to launch the smartphones in "a big way," with in-sync marketing and the devices positioned as "the signature Windows Phones."
"HTC built this hardware from the ground up to really showcase the Windows Phone software," Ballmer told the crowd. "Beautiful design is at the heart of both the hardware and the software," he added. "These are the first phones to, from the inside out, put people first."
Whatever else they will do, we'll have to wait until Oct. 29 to find out.