Windows 8 will launch on October 26

  • Microsoft has announced the official release date of its new Windows operating system.

    Individual cconsumers who want to upgrade their existing PCs will be able to buy Windows 8 on October 26.

    Manufacturers, meanwhile, will have access to the new platform in a couple weeks. In addition, enterprise users will be able to  grab the OS in early August.

    The successor to Windows 7 will be released in four different versions - Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT. The latter is for tablets.

    This is a more concise offering than previous versions of Windows, which were often tiered in various confusing configurations.

    Existing Windows users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99, making it the cheapest upgrade in Windows history.

    The $40 price applies to customers who buy the upgrade as a digital download on Microsoft's website. Those who go to a store and purchase the packaged retail version of the OS will have to pay $70.

    According to Microsoft, these are promotional sale prices intended to get as many early adopters as possible. After January 31, 2013, the prices will go up.

    Windows 8 will be unlike any previous version of Microsoft's operating system because it will have a dedicated focus on tablets that will be separate from the standard PC version.

    Microsoft has a lot of ambition with Windows 8, and with a complete interface overhaul and functionality up the wazoo, it does have a chance to make a splash.