No matter how long I work with Windows stuff, I always keep learning something new. This morning, I picked up a rumor trace from Win8China, courtesy of Neowin.net (“Windows 8.1 build 9477 reportedly in the hand of OEMs ahead of RTM“). From that reporting, I absorbed some additional MS release terminology — namely “escrow stage,” which apparently refers to the point at which (in the language of the Neowin story) “features are now locked down” and the software goes off to OEMs for preliminary testing before the RTM stage is attained. Presumably also, in keeping with normal MS release numbering practice, that’s the point at which the release number will increment, and we can expect the version number to hit 9500 to signal “ready for prime time.”
From Build 9431 (preview) to Build 9477 (RTM escrow) to Build 9500 (RTM). Seems like a likely progression.
This step lends some additional credibility to the notion, already reported here and elsewhere, that the RTM date for Windows 8.1 might occur sooner than the final week of August (26-30). Some reports have guesstimated RTM as early as August 16, one week from today. Perhaps that is a bit ambitious, but it’s not inconceivable that RTM could occur some time during the following week (August 19-23). We’ll see!