We'd heard that Microsoft was working around the clock to finish Windows Phone 8, and it appears that hard work has paid off: ZDNet and WPCentral are reporting that Redmond finished up the new operating system today. The news comes just hours after LiveSino posted images, said to be from a Windows Phone 8 team member, that featured individuals autographing a sign that indicated the software had reached the RTM — release to manufacturing — stage.

Now that Microsoft has turned the final software over to its hardware partners, the work turns towards getting the next generation of Windows Phone devices — including the recently-announced Nokia Lumia 920 — ready for consumers. Microsoft is reportedly hoping to launch Windows Phone 8 at the end of October, with Nokia eyeing November 2nd for the introduction of the 920 in the US. Microsoft opened up its Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview Program for sign-ups just two days ago, and as the pieces fall into place, we're about to see how much muscle Redmond can flex in the mobile space.

Update: We have now confirmed independently that Microsoft has finished Windows Phone 8, with devices expected to hit retail stores in early November.