Microsoft will release Windows 8 in October, according to a new Bloomberg report.
That report, which cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the schedule, suggested that the next-generation operating system will appear on devices with competing Intel and ARM chipsets. While Intels products continue to handily dominate the traditional PC space, ARM processors run a significant percentage of mobile devices such as tablets.
Microsoft, in a bid to make Windows 8 operate effectively on both traditional PCs and tablets, retooled the familiar desktop-based interface. When users first start their Windows 8 machine, they see a start screen composed of colorful, touch-friendly tiles linked to applications; from there, another click (or finger-tap) will send them to the regular desktop, which has undergone some tweaks of its own.
If Bloombergs report pans out, it would be wholly unsurprising. Windows XP and Windows 7, Microsofts two most successful Windows versions, both arrived on store shelves in October of their respective release years. In addition, near the end of 2011, executives from a major hardware partner told eWEEK that Microsoft was aiming for an October 2012 release date for Windows 8.
In November 2011, leaked slides from Asus hinted at a pair of Windows 8 tablets arriving in the third quarter of 2012. Earlier in March, an article in DigiTimes suggested that Nokia would launch a Windows 8 tablet sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012, complete with a 10-inch screen and a Qualcomm dual-core chipset; that information came from unnamed sources among upstream component suppliers, who predicted that Nokias venture into the tablet PC market will also further intensify competition among non-iPad tablet PC vendors.
Dell also gave indications it plans to release Windows 8 tablets later in the year. We have a road map for tablets that we havent announced yet, Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice told Reuters March 16. We dont think that this market is closed off in any way. Those announcements will apparently come in the second half of 2012, suggesting a holiday release for whatever Dell has tucked up its collective sleeve.
In the tablet space, Microsoft will face significant competition from Apple, which recently released the next version of its best-selling iPad. And in traditional PCs, where Windows has long held an overwhelming market advantage, the company needs to cope with the prospect of mobile devices becoming peoples primary computing device. Windows 8 on tablets is the potential answer to both those conundrums, but it also sets up a significant challenge for Microsoft in the back half of 2012.