Windows 8 Set For October Debut
March 20, 2012

Windows 8 Set For October Debut

Microsoft has never been the best at keeping major software platform updates on schedule for consumers. However, the engineers in Redmond, WA will reportedly finish work on Windows 8 by summer, setting the stage to release the next version of its flagship operating system sometime around October, reports Dina Bass for Bloomberg.

Microsoft is targeting holiday shoppers with the new software, which is being produced to work with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs.

Citing “people with knowledge of the schedule,” Bloomberg reports that there will be fewer than five devices running the ARM system-on-a-chip architecture at launch.

Those ARM chips allow for thinner, lighter tablet devices, something that Microsoft hopes will help it cut into Apple´s iPad´s huge lead in the tablet market, CNET´s Jay Greene writes.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc, told Bass, “If they miss the September-October time frame, they´re going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012.”

“The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it´s going to be a good seller for the holidays.”

Earlier this month, the same analyst firm predicted that PC shipments would be weak throughout 2012 and grow at a rate of 4.4 percent this year. The firm expects ultrabooks to gain steam over the second half of the year. Traditional desktops and laptops are expected to suffer due to the increased popularity of tablets.

While the economy is a contributing factor to the weakness of PC market growth, Gartner also mentions the Thailand flooding issues as a contributing cause. The floods caused massive destruction and decreased the world´s supply of hard drives and other computer components.

Microsoft released the consumer preview of Windows 8 during late February and is encouraging Windows users to take the new user interface for a test drive. The operating system has a greater integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft´s answer to Apple´s iCloud, reports Mike Flacy for Digital Trends.