CES 2012: Windows 8 Beta In Late Februaryby Ryan Smith on January 9, 2012 11:30 PM EST
There has been some speculation over the last few months over when to expect the beta release of Windows 8. During Microsoft's final CES keynote tonight, Microsoft put that speculation to rest (more or less), announcing that the Windows 8 beta will be released to the public in late February. Also being released alongside the Windows 8 beta will be the Windows Store, Microsoft’s central repository for Metro applications. The Windows Store will be available globally, and will support every language that Windows itself supports. There was no discussion of a release candidate, but at this point it’s highly likely that we’ll see a single release candidate, similar to how Windows 7 was launched.
It’s worth noting that compared to Windows 7, Windows 8 development is slightly farther behind on a calendar basis. The Windows 7 beta was released to the public on January 10th, while the Windows 8 beta will be a month and a half behind that. There was a 9.5 month gap between the Windows 7 beta and retail availability, so if Microsoft maintains a similar development schedule then we would expect to see Windows 8 in retail at the very end of 2012.