Microsoft Confirms Windows 8 Public Beta for February

During a San Francisco developers event held on Tuesday, Microsoft confirmed that it will release a public beta of Windows 8 in late February 2012 instead of the early January date indicated by a recently leaked roadmap. The news arrived as Antoine Leblond, vice president of Windows Web services, introduced the upcoming Windows Store to the press.

So far the new tablet-console-friendly OS seems to be on track for a full retail release in Fall 2012 based on the beta's February launch. Given that Microsoft released a public beta of Windows 7 back in January 2009, there was speculation that the Redmond company was sticking to the same schedule. Yet the Developer Preview launched a month earlier (on September 13) than Windows 7's October distribution. That said, comparing the two release schedules seems to be somewhat pointless.

According to Microsoft, more than 13 million copies of the Windows 8 Developer Preview (opens in new tab) had been downloaded since its release back in the fall. California-based Net Applications said that -- based on the Developer Preview downloads -- Windows 8 already accounts for three-hundredths of 1-percent of all PCs accessing the Internet. That's reportedly one-fourth the number of Windows 2000-powered PCs and half the number of Windows 98 PCs.

Despite the beta announcement, Tuesday's event was focused on Microsoft's app market simply called Windows Store. It will open its doors at the launch of the Windows 8 Public Beta and only offer free apps. Previous reports indicated that the storefront will only provide Metro-style applications, and that legacy applications for Windows 7 and later will only have a landing page that links back to the software publisher.

On Tuesday Microsoft also launched the Windows 8 First Apps Contest, challenging developers to create Metro-style apps that will be chosen as launch applications in Windows Store in February. Winning developers will not only get a front-row seat on opening day, but a Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC from the BUILD conference, a year of Windows Azure, and a two-year subscription to the Store. The deadline for submitting a Metro app to the contest is Jan. 8, 2012, so get busy.

  • nbraybrook
    who cares honestly, unless you have a craplet, 90% of desktop users running windows 7 have no reason. WIN8 = FAIL
  • CaedenV
    Just found out today that someone at work is giving me their asus convertable tablet/netbook thing. This will be perfect to really do win8 on! and I have loved it so far on my Acer netbook.

    nbraybrookwho cares honestly, unless you have a craplet, 90% of desktop users running windows 7 have no reason. WIN8 = FAILWin8 is not a fail. The desktop UI is great! The power user features are great! The new start menu/screen is OK, but as it is easily turned off it is no big deal
  • digitalzom-b
    nbraybrookwho cares honestly, unless you have a craplet, 90% of desktop users running windows 7 have no reason. WIN8 = FAILYou're forgetting the new features, including startup and shutdown enhancements, file transfer enhancements, UI and efficiency enhancements... the list goes on.

    I for one am excited to drop Win8 onto my laptop since it's pretty bare anyways and won't have to transfer any files.
  • Hellbound
    I'm looking forward to this. I have a spare PC its going on.
  • internetlad
    actually having used it (just throwing that out there) I can say that somebody upgrading from XP would be justified. Win7, even Vista on a desktop? Not so much. Doesn't really add much to the formula from builds that recent.
  • ProDigit10
    Windows 8 would most likely not start very smoothly, unless they get rid of the ugly ass metro UI, and create a clear distinction between a desktop and mobile variant!
    The metro is ugly as hell, and not handy!
    The desktop version is much preferred, since touch screens in desktops are at least 10 years away from now!
  • southernshark
    I look forward to it, but won't buy it until I upgrade to a new computer. Once I do that though, I will go ahead and put it on all of my computers. :D
  • what are you guys moaning about? the metro is optional, you can make it looks just like win7 if it pleases yea, but it will run faster. ive been fidling with the developer build for a while now and i can see the difference when it comes to pure processing. win8 is slighly faster then win 7 in many things.

    try it and time it, you will see the difference. and if your a gamer id rate it will have enough performance boost to justify an upgrade, but i havent played much games on it yet. and it aint 100% complete yet so who knows. but so far its very promising.

    remember metro isnt forced, its just default. you can change it to normal in 2 minutes ^^
  • jdwii
    Well Lots of people on this site can get W8 for free just like 7/vista/Xp. I can through my college and you can if you work in the IT field. I'm looking forward to W8 if metro can be turned off 100% like it was never even their i also want my PC to start on the desktop and not act like its just a app like The developers preview of 8. If so this will be a lighter and faster 7 with a more up to date Scheduler for the processor. And lets hope W8 will use 100% gpu acceleration for everything you do. This will make it even faster. I hope Microsoft keeps making lighter and lighter OS's with better support for newer hardware.

    If i had to pick some things i wanted upgraded from 7 it would be
    Better support for multithreading
    More acceleration with the video card for a smoother experience
    Use less Cpu cycles and less ram then 7
    Start up Faster with the desktop on by default not metro, Shutdown faster, And most importantly less restarts due to updates!
    Even though i find W7 very secure, Make 8 even better while not slowing down the system!

    The smaller they make the Os the faster it will boot and load programs.

  • I tried the developer preview, I dare say that it's awful. After seeing videos about 6 months ago of Metro, I thought it looked like a stupid way of doing things, but deep down I was wondering if it would just be brilliant when i tried it hands-on; It was not.

    It's designed for tablets and touch screens. I would argue that it's not even very good for those. However, a keyboard and mouse are still superior input devices for productivity, and I'm certainly not going to hold my arms out all day poking at all 3 of my monitors at work. Tablets are a fad just like netbooks were, there's even some statistic that 75% of all iPads are just collecting dust because people figured out they were useless when you've got a laptop and a phone.

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