Hmm – perhaps there will be a tablet/slate-focused initial release of Windows 8; I wouldn’t be surprised to see that become the BUILD event headline – e.g., a Windows 8 slate (with hardware partners including Samsung, HTC, and others) in time for the 2011 holiday season, and a full PC version of Windows 8 released in 2012. Check the post link below for more details and insights from Paul Thurrott.
Schedule. As I exclusively revealed back in July on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft will release a developer preview of Windows 8 at BUILD. This was originally supposed to be feature complete, but this past week Microsoft president Steve Sinofsky implicitly admitted that the company was behind schedule on Windows 8 when he revealed that the preview build wouldn’t include several features that are slated for Windows 8, including Media Center, the built-in games (apparently unchanged since Windows 7), Windows DVD Creator, .NET 3.5, and, curiously, the Upgrade version of Setup (which suggests that the preview will allow only clean installs).
That said, I expect to see a single public beta by the end of 2011, although a January 2012 launch also makes plenty of sense. This will be followed by one release candidate (RC) build in 1H 2012 and the release to manufacturing (RTM) and general availability (GA) versions by mid-year. Some have placed the Windows 8 launch at April 2012, which is certainly possible. But given the recent delays in getting all features into the preview build, that date is starting to look a bit optimistic.
An important consideration, from later in the post:
Also, Windows 8 will run on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Intel-compatible processors, as well as ARM-based processors. The latter is a first, but note that ARM-based Windows 8 systems will not be able to run legacy Windows applications such as Office 2010; these systems will only be able to run the built-in apps and whatever new, HTML5-based apps appear.
Hopefully an ARM-optimized Office 2010 (and Windows Live Writer) won’t be far behind, schedule-wise.