Microsoft is set to launch a Windows 8 release preview of its next generation OS in early June.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by Stephen Sinofsky -- the president of Microsoft's Windows division -- at the Windows Developer Days conference in Japan. Microsoft's release schedule for Windows 7 began with the launch of the W7 developer's preview on October 28, 2008. Then in 2009, Microsoft rolled out the W7 public beta, release candidate (RC), and release to manufacturing (RTM) versions on Jan. 7, April 30 and Oct. 22, respectively.
This time around, Microsoft has changed the designations for its incremental W8 OS releases to developer (Sept. 13, 2011), consumer (Feb. 29, 2012) and preview (early June).
"Barring any major issues, an early June roll out of a release candidate caliber version of W8 is in fact earlier" than many industry observers had expected, said Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC. The W8 release preview will arrive in plenty of time for manufacturers to have W8 devices "out in the fall well ahead of the holiday buying season -Shipping early means an even bigger variety of devices by the holidays."