Windows 8 is set to arrive in public beta form in February next year, allowing early access to the new OS from the start of next year. 

A post by The Next Web points to the February release date, citing sources close to Microsoft. It clears up a lot of the speculation over exactly when Windows 8 is set to arrive in beta form. Many expect a 2012 release for the final build of the OS, with the February beta adding further weight to this rumour. No exact date has yet been given for the shipping of Windows 8.

The new operating system sees a major departure from Microsoft's traditional UI, incorporating a home page which draws heavily from Windows Phone 7. The Metro UI of the OS uses similar live tiles to that of Microsoft's phone OS. 

Windows 8 is expected to be a cross platform piece of software, designed for both tablets and computers and what we've seen of the software so far from the developer build prove this to be the case. No details as to what will be released in the beta currently exist, so we can't be sure whether it will arrive with the email function currently exempt from the developer preview. 

Given the beta date, it is entirely possible that we will see Windows 8 appearing on hardware in time for Christmas next year. Exciting stuff from Microsoft, with plenty to look forward too.

Excited about Windows 8? Let us know in the comments below ... 

Hunter Skipworth

The baby of the Lint team, Hunter has been a tech fan since he bought his first MiniDisc..and what a waste of money that was. He began writing about electronics at the age of 16 and hasn't stopped since. Nowadays he fulfils his mobile phone and gaming obsession whilst attempting to distract people from his bizarre name. Regular meetings with the Gladiators crew see Hunter often returning to work battered and bruised. Considers himself a music obsessive, was once the most highly decorated scout in the country. Fan of trousers.