Windows 8 will be here in October, Microsoft says

It’s what tech industry analysts have been predicting for a while, but Microsoft has officially announced that its next operating system, Windows 8, will be available this October. 

Microsoft offered some details about Windows 8 today at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference. The OS will be available for consumers by the end of October, and it will be released to hardware manufacturers the first week of August.

That means at some point in October, consumers will be able to purchase Windows 8 upgrades, and PCs, tablets and other hardware running the OS will start to become available. That likely includes Microsoft’s own line of Surface tablets.

This news comes shortly after the company announced its pricing plans for Windows 8. In what some observers are saying is an aggressive move to encourage adoption of an OS that many users are wary of, upgrades will available for significantly cheaper than usual.

An upgrade to Windows 8 from XP or above will cost just $39.99 through the end of January 2013. Also, an upgrade from Windows 7 will be available for $14.99 for anyone who buys a new computer before that time.