updated 11:05 pm EST, Thu December 1, 2011
Windows 8 beta, public timing slips out
Microsoft's Windows 8 public beta might have been moved further into the year. A rumor from "sources close to Microsoft" for TNW have the release tentatively slated for late February, more than a month after the CES expo intro hinted earlier. It's not known if this was a delay or always part of the schedule.
The developer preview version released in September was in a rough state, missing e-mail and otherwise being in a state only really suitable for third-party app testing. A beta is defined as feature-complete, however, and it's likely that any delays might be to polish the release for regular users.
A public beta so late would rule out an April release to manufacturing. Microsoft always produces at least one release candidate build and rarely turns so quickly. Talk of a June or later completion date and a second-half 2012 release are more likely.
If true, the timing could create problems for Windows 8 and Microsoft's attempts to reclaim the tablet space. The first truly touch-native Windows tablets may not be on the market until 2.5 years after the iPad, and possibly months after the iPad 3 appears.