Home > IT Info, New Software, News > Windows 8’s October 26th release could mean holiday gold for Microsoft

Windows 8’s October 26th release could mean holiday gold for Microsoft

         Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 on October 26th – just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, but far enough out for hardware partners to refine their products.
It’s official. In a post on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft posted a picture of Steven Sinofsky speaking at the company’s annual sales meeting, where he announced that Windows 8 will be made available on October 26. New computers—in desktop, mobile, and tablet form factors—will be available on that date, as will upgrade editions of the OS, for users looking to update their current PCs.

RELATED: Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8: First step to a consistent Windows across all platforms

An October release has been suspected for quite some time now (I hinted at it back in April in this very blog), but in light of all the recent Microsoft and Windows 8-related news, like Smart Glass, Surface, Office 2013/365, and Windows Phone 8, knowing the official release date for Windows 8 helps solidify the landscape somewhat.

First off, I think the timing couldn’t be any better. Windows 8-based devices will be on-sale the last Friday in October and Microsoft (and its partners) should be able to ride a huge wave of momentum into the important holiday buying season and perhaps into 2013 if the buzz is mostly positive once products are in the hands of consumers.

Steven Sinofsky announcing Window 8’s general available at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting. (Image source: Microsoft)

Having used the Windows 8 Consumer Preview semi-regularly for the last few weeks, I don’t think Microsoft will have any trouble polishing up the RTM release of Windows 8 either. Although there’s a very real possibility that the major interface changes coming in the RTM may throw a wrench in the works, that’s not likely to happen. Anytime a major component of an OS is ripped out, unforeseen problems can and almost always do arise, but since Microsoft is simplifying the design they should be able to pull it off.

Having another couple of months to test and qualify their products prior to the October launch should be beneficial to Microsoft’s hardware partners as well. Although they’ll need to be ready sooner than the actual release date, early indicators are that Asus, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, and of course Microsoft will all have sleek, highly-refined tablets available in time for Windows 8’s launch. Intel also let slip that 20 of its partners have Windows 8 tablets on the way and that 140 Ultrabook designs, including 40 touch-enabled models, are in the works as well. All of the major players in the desktop and workstation market are primed for Windows 8’s release too; I’ve had my hands on a few gorgeous All-in-one machines (with and without touch) and new desktops refreshed with brand new hardware. It’s obvious Microsoft’s hardware partners (in all categories) are feeling a sense of urgency at the moment and it seems they’re all hoping for a major boost with Windows 8.

I’m not completely sold on Windows 8 for notebooks and desktops just yet, however. It’s a great fit for tablets and touch-enabled AIO machines, but Metro and the other interface tweaks just feel out of place on larger monitors and when using a mouse and keyboard. The more I use the OS, though, the more I can appreciate the performance optimizations that went into it. Even on relatively low-end hardware, Windows 8 boots up and shut down very quickly. Opening applications and navigating through its various menus is also fluid and quick. On high-end hardware, the performance picture gets even better. Using the Consumer Preview on an Intel Core i7-based rig, outfitted with an SSD, discrete graphics, and 16GB of RAM, feels surprisingly fast—faster than the same rig running Windows 7, although benchmark tests don’t show much difference.

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Categories: IT Info, New Software, News
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