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Microsoft confirms October 26 release date for Windows 8 operating system

Xbox 360 Screenshot - 1113477

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 8, finally has a confirmed release date. We previously heard from Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc that it would be available for consumers by October of this year.

Today, we have an exact date. Announcing it on the Windows blog, Leblanc confirmed an October 26, 2012 release date for Windows 8. According to LeBlanc, Steven Sinofsky announced it at Microsoft's annual sales meeting.

This means, come October 26, customers will be able to get Windows 8 on a new PC or through upgrade. So how does Windows 8 differ from past Microsoft operating systems?

For one, it offers an extremely different user experience with a new interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language, similar to that seen on the Windows Phone and Xbox 360. It features a new tile-based Start screen with each tile representing a different application and displaying relevant information to that app. It's interface is designed to better suit touchscreen input, along with traditional mouse and keyboard input.

It also adds support for the ARM processor architecture in addition to the previously supported x86 microprocessors from Intel, AMD and VIA. Other features include Internet Explorer 10, native support for USB 3.0, Xbox LIVE integration, a redesigned Task Manager, and tons of other changes.

Windows 8 is all part of Microsoft's goal to sync and unify all of its different electronic devices. At E3 Microsoft emphasized the company's new focus on merging Xbox entertainment with Windows 8 devices.

"Whether on your PC, tablet, TV or phone, Xbox will be a gateway to the best in music and video, your favorite games and instant access to your friends. With the launch of Windows 8, we’ll bring Xbox entertainment to everyone. With Xbox on Windows 8 devices, we rapidly accelerate the reach of Xbox entertainment from more than 60 million people to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," Microsoft chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi wrote at the time.

Window 8 will be released on October 26, 2012 in 109 languages across 231 markets around the world. Do you plan on upgrading?

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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Games: Xbox 360

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