Not that it takes a Nostradamus to predict, but sources are now confirming that Microsoft plans to officially launch Windows 8 in October of this year. The timing is great for the holidays–that is, assuming that the OS is well-received.
I’ve been working with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Dell XPS M1330 notebook, and so far I’m not really sold. I mean, it has a lot of nice features, and I like it in general. But, I love Windows 7, and Windows 8 feels like Windows 7 with Metro added as an additional, frustrating layer I have to work through to get to the features and capabilities I actually want to use.
I think Metro is the key to the success of Windows 8, though. I think Microsoft needs to get it right, and that it needs to have massive support from app developers. Finally, the hardware developers that create Windows 8 tablets need to create sleek, compelling devices at competitive prices to position Windows 8 tablets aggressively against the dominant Apple iPad.
If Windows 8 tablets can live up to expectations, and if ultrabooks are introduced with touchscreens and other features that leverage the capabilities of Windows 8, it could be a very nice holiday season for Microsoft and its partners. But, don’t expect existing Windows users to rush out in droves to pay for an upgrade to the latest OS.