Microsoft has announced that the new version of their Windows software package, Windows 8, will launch on 26 October 2012.
The announcement was made via a statement released at their annual sales meeting and an official company blog post released thereafter. The company also expressed confidence that the update would be the most important redesign of the Windows interface for more than ten years.
The software will include a touch controlled interface, known as Metro, along with a more traditional desktop format. The package will be released in a number of versions, one of which will run on ARM-based chips, whilst other x86 based versions have been designed by Intel and AMD.
Analysts believe that a dip in sales could be indicative of a customer base that is holding off from updating their software until the new system arrives. This would only largely be relevant to retail sales customers as businesses continue to roll out Windows 7 and traditionally only carry out major systems upgrades over a long timescale.
But Microsoft’s early ambition is to better compete with rival tablet computer sales.
While the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire dominate the tablet market, and the Google Nexus 7 has received positive reviews, Microsoft is aiming to compete thanks to its single system capabilities; using Windows 8 to power both a customer tablet and home PC. Apple currently works via separate operating systems for computers and tablets; the Mac OS X and iPad iOS systems.
Microsoft has even announced its own hardware, the Surface tablet.
HitSearch Director Andy Redfern commented "Today's Microsoft announcement on Windows 8 is really quite a significant step forward in modern communication. Windows 8 will be one of the first large scale operating systems that will work on both mobile and desktop devices. This will enable data to be shared between devices much more easily and impact on business usage will be substantial."