Windows 8 is going to hit stores in October, and will be available initially on desktop PCs and tablets. This was announced earlier today in Toronto at Microsoft’s Partner Developer Conference. Steve Ballmer took to the stage and told attendees and online viewers that Windows 8, in both x86 and ARM-based versions, will hit the street in October after going RTM (Release to Manufacturing) in August.
While the ARM-based version of Windows 8, Windows RT, has not been released to the public in preview format, it will be largely the same as the Release Preview from earlier this year. Microsoft’s Surface tablet, expected to market around the same time as the OS itself, will come in both x86 and ARM versions to cater to different users: power users who need the full suite of Windows apps may opt for the Intel-based version, while more casual (read: iPad) users may choose the lower-cost, lower-power Windows RT version.
The most important part of this announcement is that Microsoft is going full-tilt into the mobile market, and you’ll likely be reading a lot more about them on this site as a result. The boundaries 0f “mobile” are shifting, as operating systems like Windows 8, and to a less extent OS X, bridge the gap between desktop and mobile.