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Windows 8 beta to be released early next year, following a demo at CES 2012?

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Microsoft is reported to be planning a public beta release of Windows 8 for early in 2012.

hp windows 8 tablet
hp windows 8 tablet

Insider sources at Microsoft seem to have been working overtime lately, as they've provided both The Next Web and WinRumors with release windows for the public beta of Windows 8. Regrettably, their intel doesn't quite overlap, as TNW reports the Windows 8 beta won't be available until late February, whereas WinRumors pegs it at late January. The latter site also adds that we should expect Microsoft to demonstrate a near-final build of the beta software at CES 2012 (kicking off on January 9th), where we'll also apparently see a Metro-fied version of Office.

With the recent revelation that Microsoft may decide to dump Desktop mode from ARM-based Windows 8 tablets, we can see that the company is still working on finalizing some of the important decisions for the new OS. We suspect, therefore, that there's some truth in what both sources have expressed here, though the only thing certain for the moment is that Microsoft will release Windows 8 for public testing as early as it can, whenever that may be. Once it does, we can move on to the always-fun activity of trying to estimate the release date of the final version. Nokia has already promised to have a Windows 8 tablet by June, and the general need to be ready for the back-to-school shopping rush also seems to narrow the release window down to late summer. Got any guesses for a date? August 8th, perhaps?