The long march to the official release of Windows 8 is almost over. Microsoft sent out invites to an event in New York scheduled for October 25 to formally debut its new operating system which has been available for months in a test version.
The software giant has a lot riding on Windows 8 as it seeks to reboot its strategy with a more tablet-friendly, touchscreen version of its venerable OS.
While several PC makers have announced and even previewed Windows 8 tablets already, there should still be some surprises at the event and much is still not known.
For example, Microsoft itself is sure to show its own Windows RT Surface tablets based on the ARM chip architecture. The company previewed Surface earlier this year, but access to the prototype devices was limited. Buyers will want to see working versions, and details about availability and price, especially since earlier rumors indicated Microsoft wants to be very aggressive on price to better compete with the iPad.
Microsoft will also have a Surface Pro model based on Intel architecture that, unlike Surface RT, will be backward compatible with Windows software. Surface RT will include a special version of Windows Office designed for it.
Traditionally, partners are a big part of any new Microsoft OS launch and the October 25 event won’t be an exception. Dell, HP, Lenovo and others are expected to show off new Windows 8 tablets at the event.