Windows 8 Beta by February, Gold by Summer?

One site claims the beta won't make it for CES but is coming soon.

A lot of folks were surprised and a bit disappointed that a beta version of Windows 8 was not made available at the BUILD conference last September, but they might get their wish come next month as Microsoft attempts to repeat its history.The Next Web is reporting

that Microsoft is preparing a beta of Windows 8 for late February, with plans for gold code by summer. Microsoft had hoped for a beta at CES but the site speculates the features are not settled. TNW says the company is targeting a summer RTM for the code.If Microsoft follows this pattern, it will closely match what it did with Windows 7: the pre-beta came out at a late-year developer show, the beta early the following year, and gold code by summer. One thing we know about Windows boss Steven Sinofsky, he's a stickler for schedules.Meanwhile, there have been a number of reports that Office 2012 will come at CES as well, either in beta or technology preview (take your pick). Leaked screen shots to Slashgear show that Office 2012 is getting the Metro makeover to make it more tablet-friendly. Because if there's one thing I want on a tablet it's a full blown Office environment.More details are slowly coming out from a variety of sources. The Start Menu will be replaced with something called the Charms Bar, which combines search, sharing, device management and settings all in one location, all available through either the keyboard or touch gestures.Newer builds also include touch gestures to close Metro apps. One thing I noticed with the preview at BUILD was there was no way to close apps unless you went into the task manager and killed the task (which gives you an idea of how early of a build that developer preview really is).Plus, there's a new file system coming for Windows Server 8, called Resilient File System (ReFS), which Windows 8 will recognize but not use. So it sounds like they are adding features to Windows 8 at quite a pace, which is going to make a January/February beta pretty tight.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.