So, if you're a PC person, you're likely aware that Windows 8 is in the works. Of course, that means that there is a lot of speculation going on about Windows 8, and what all it will or will not do. The official word from Microsoft is that the idea for it is simplification and streamlining. Instead of offering six options (starter, home basic, home premium, etc) as Windows 7 did, Windows 8 is offering only four editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT. What is the “RT” you ask? Windows 8 RT will be the edition built to run on tablets, but will only be available pre-loaded on mobile devices.
What really peaks my interest, however, is that word has it that will be the biggest redesign for Windows since Windows '95. As someone who helped upgrade many machines from Win 3.1 to Win 95, I’m very, very curious about this next generation of Windows. It will be based off of the Windows Metro interface, giving it much more of a tablet-esque feel for the PC, though we are assured that it will be just as comfortable with a keyboard/mouse as with a touchscreen. I am interested to see exactly how user friendly this turns out to be—if they do it well, then they've scored big. If they have only done things halfway, then I foresee users getting tired of getting all the bugs worked out.
Thus far, rumors say that the release date will be sometime in October 2012, so we have until then to sort through all of the rumors and speculations. To help fill your time, here are some links, including the consumer preview from Microsoft themselves.
Windows Consumer Preview
Windows 8 Revealed
Windows 8 Coming in 4 Editions
Unanswered Questions About Windows 8