There has been some speculation over the last few months over when to expect the beta release of Windows 8. During Microsoft's final CES keynote tonight, Microsoft put that speculation to rest (more or less), announcing that the Windows 8 beta will be released to the public in late February. Also being released alongside the Windows 8 beta will be the Windows Store, Microsoft’s central repository for Metro applications. The Windows Store will be available globally, and will support every language that Windows itself supports. There was no discussion of a release candidate, but at this point it’s highly likely that we’ll see a single release candidate, similar to how Windows 7 was launched.

It’s worth noting that compared to Windows 7, Windows 8 development is slightly farther behind on a calendar basis. The Windows 7 beta was released to the public on January 10th, while the Windows 8 beta will be a month and a half behind that. There was a 9.5 month gap between the Windows 7 beta and retail availability, so if Microsoft maintains a similar development schedule then we would expect to see Windows 8 in retail at the very end of 2012.

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  • Mundtly - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    What a broad, ignorant statement to make. You sound more like someone who resists change because you're inept at adapting to new user features, than someone who's trying to get "real" work done as you so eloquently put it. Microsoft is trying to improve it's products by innovating to a more user-friendly experience. No one is stopping you from continuing to use Windows 7, nor will it's security updates stop anytime soon. But if you're hoping for Microsoft to continue printing the same OS year after year, perhaps you should exit the technology sector, and switch to a craft that doesn't cause you to rely so heavily on computers. For the average user (by that I mean non-technical types), this is will most likely be hands down a huge improvement in daily tasks and productivity. If you're really concerned about a Facebook app being part of the home screen by default, you should easily be able to disable it via the operating system or worst case block it via your business firewall. How exactly do you deal with this issue now anyway?

    This is the kind of mentality that caused us to see very little change between Windows 95 and Windows XP. It's also the reason Microsoft is slowing losing it's market share in the home sector. Microsoft has been productive for the first time in many years, and all you can do is shun them for any innovations they attempt to make.
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Thank You! People are just scared of change. We still have people (even on these boards) that won't switch from XP to 7 because they think XP is good enough! Now Metro is a bigger change, but Windows 8 still has the standard OS view if you don't like the Metro look.
  • danrien - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    I've using the Windows 8 Dev preview on a VM a few times, and to say the least, it's a jarring experience switching from the "old" Aero desktop to the new Metro UI. I wish the UI would at least have some consistency, so everything is Metro themed or everything is Aero themed. I would prefer Aero themed, I like the glass look, and I think even just removing the green background and making it Aero transparent instead would remove a lot of this "whoa what's happening moment" experience i have everytime i move my mouse down to the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Mac OS X (Lion) has a start screen very similar to what you describe called Launch Pad. I never use it. Like a Windows 7 user, frequently used apps are on my Dock, and everything else I can get to using Spotlight desktop search (Command+Space Bar). The new Metro Style start screen is complete "Over Kill" and I think Desktop/Laptop users are going to hate it. It's really a Tablet feature.
  • danrien - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Yep, so does Gnome 3. I thought about mentioning it, but didn't want to confuse my point.

    I agree it is overkill, but as far as when you're in that situation where you have to find that program you use very occasionally, a nice interface doesn't hurt. Really, the Gnome interface is like a google image search (but for programs) that automatically filters as you type text in, which is neat. Of course, it also has an up/down scroll for when the filtered list is bigger than the screen.

    Still, it sucks to not have the old interfaces for when you need to quickly get somewhere that you often go.
  • Malphas - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Pretty much every time there's an sort of article about Windows 8 there'll be a bunch of people whining about the new interface, with hackneyed soundbites like "I use my PC for work, not Facebook and Twitter" etc. etc. Just like they did with Windows 7.

    The Metro UI's main screen is just a grid of shortcuts with your most used applications closest to the bottom left since it's pretty well established by Fitt's law as the fastest area to click. It's hard to think of a faster and more efficient interface, certainly a big improvement for 90%+ of users.
  • karma77police - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    PC is not a Tablet
  • WPLJ42 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Metro UI is for tablets and touchscreens. I HATE it, and will either stay with Windows 7 or return to the Mac.
  • Toxin07 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    All you dumb asses complaining about how it looks has now place here.This topic is stating when beta will be released.Its not not a post saying anything about how the start menu looks.if you wanna bitch about it go to those areas.Or complain to microsoft but i doubt they will listen to you cause this feature is what most people want otherwise they wouldn't bother making it in the first place.There will be an option to change it to the classic start menu that you so dearly love.And this new interface is so easy to can even change where you want the news feeds to be placed and put all of your apps that you use right at the front instead of the back.this feature is laptop and desktop friendly as well.use your arrow keys to move to the side or use your scrolling mouse to move to the side.I agree that the old start menu is to small for my taste.And any haters that try to prove me wrong.dont bother your just wasteing your time and makes you look even more stupid.If you dont like it dont get it.its as simple as that so dont hate.
  • WPLJ42 - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    Your insults are not welcome on a respectable website like AnandTech.

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