Microsoft revealed today that it plans to launch the highly anticipated "Consumer Preview" version of Windows 8 on February 29th. The company will hold an event at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 29th to launch the Windows 8 Consumer Preview between 3PM and 5PM (CET). The unusual choice of venue (a cellphone conference) could hint at the company's plans for the future of Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Details on Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, leaked last week and revealed an interesting synergy between Windows Phone and Windows client. Not only will Windows Phone 8 share the same Metro style user interface as Windows 8 for tablets and PCs, but developers can reuse the same code for both operating systems. It's not clear if Microsoft plans to discuss its Windows Phone 8 plans, but a Windows 8 Consumer Preview launch at Mobile World Congress makes it look that way.

Microsoft will unveil its Start Screen changes, customization and keyboard / mouse improvements with the latest preview, including a desktop mode without the traditional Start button orb. The Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 will also include some preinstalled Metro style applications, and provides access to the new Windows Store where users can download a range of games and applications.