While we have already known that Windows 8 will be completed and subsequently released later this year, we didn’t know exactly (at least in terms of months) how late — or early — it would happen. A report from Bloomberg suggests that Windows 8 will be finalized sometime this summer, and will reach the GA (general availability) stage in October.
On top of this, Bloomberg is also hearing that over 40 Intel devices will hit the shelves (though they aren’t being clear about whether these are specifically Intel tablets), along with less than 5 WOA tablets. This small amount of ARM devices reportedly has to do with strict quality-control on Microsoft’s part, which is definitely good to hear. Microsoft cannot afford their big debut in the tablet space to be botched by OEMs trying to make a quick buck off of crapware and outdated drivers.
This timeframe is realistic; if Microsoft are gunning for a holiday season release in late 2012, Windows 8 has to be finalized at around this time in order to get its foot in the door of store shelves. And, as Sinofsky is not one to forego prudent shipping, it is unlikely that they would miss such a target.
Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg concurs:
“If they miss the September-October time frame, they’re going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012. The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it’s going to be a good seller for the holidays.”