The general public will get a chance to try out Windows 8 for the first time in late February 2012, when Microsoft plans to launch the first public beta of the new operating system.
The Next Web quotes sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, who have confirmed to the tech news site that Microsoft has settled on releasing the beta, or test version, of Windows 8 early next year.
Beta versions of software are usually not the finished product, but are very close to finished. The aim of letting the public use Windows 8 before it is finally released is to gain feedback, detect any potential issues and iron them out as soon as possible.
With the public beta version launching in February, we can anticipate the full release to be later on in the same year, meaning that Windows 8-powered laptops, desktops and tablet devices should be available to buy around this time next year.
Windows 8 has been designed to work on both computers and tablet devices, something Microsoft has done before with Windows 7, but unfortunately found little success on the tablet side. We’ve already seen Samsung demonstrate early Windows 8 tablets, and we must say we’re already excited for what’s to come.
The new operating system will feature a look unlike any version of Windows for PC before. Gone is the familiar Start Menu from the bottom left hand corner – instead applications and settings will be found as ‘tiles’ on the homescreen, much like the look of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. This stye has been dubbed the ‘Metro’ theme by Microsoft, and is one that customers will gain familiarity with over the coming years.
We’re extremely excited to give Windows 8 a test next February, are you?