The beta "Consumer Preview" version of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system could be released on Wednesday 29th February. Microsoft have announced a "Windows 8 Consumer Preview event" in the city, that is also home to the Mobile World Congress expo that week.
This looks like a reasonable time to launch the beta given that Microsoft previously said it would release it at the end of February. For those on the official testing programme or who subscribe to their software via the MDSN website, with Windows 7 these groups received the beta around one week to ten days before so if this is repeated this could mean that they get delivery of the beta any time from the 17th of this month, which is what I was expecting personally.
The Consumer Preview will include many features not seen in the previous Developer Preview release, which Microsoft gave out publicly in September last year. This is because many of those features either had not been written yet or were not finished. One of the things that is set to change considerably is the new Metro interface, and several leaks in the last couple of weeks have shown that in some ways Microsoft has changed it significantly.
The Developer Preview has received some criticisms from business users and IT Pros, primarily because of Metro, but it remains to be seen how many of those criticisms are answered satisfactorily by the Consumer Preview. Business users should not be concerned about the name "Consumer Preview" either as this is basically code for, "We've got developers excited [hopefully] but now we need to spur those developers on and make sure they've not forgotten about us by getting millions of members of the public excited as well."
New features that have been demonstrated but not yet used by the public, including the new "Windows App Store" will open at the same time. The final release of the operating system is expected later in the year around October.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.