It seems like not all that long ago we were talking about the launch of Windows 7, but 2012 is right around the corner, and it's bringing Windows 8 with it. To that end, Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky opened the Building Windows 8 blog today. Like the Windows 7 blog before it, "B8" will discuss Windows 8 in-depth as it moves from its current internal development phase to RTM, which is still planned for some point in late 2012.
Sinofsky's opening post gives no new information on the operating system, but it does reiterate a lot of what we already know: it will run on ARM SoCs, it needs to run (and run well) on a wide variety of devices, and our next major look at the software will be at Microsoft's BUILD conference next month. It also appears likely that the road to Windows 8's release will closely mirror Windows 7's, including a public beta period in which "end-users, developers, and information professionals" will get their chance to evaluate the new OS before it is actually released.
Also evident in Sinofsky's blog post is that the company still remembers the lessons learned from Vista. He notes that some have expressed "frustration over how little [Microsoft has] communicated" regarding the new OS (in possible reference to the lack of information about the programming languages Windows 8 will push), but noted that Microsoft has "learned lessons over the years about the perils of talking about features before [they] have a solid understanding of [their] ability to execute," a reference to the many features Longhorn shed over its five-year development cycle. In short: Microsoft is only planning on talking about features that it's pretty confident will be included in the shipping version of the OS.
Sinofsky made no mention of when or how often the blog would update, but said that many members of the Windows team would be writing posts and responding to feedback left on the blog. Windows 8 still has no firm release date, but if it follows Windows 7's precedent, we'll probably see a beta sometime in early 2012, followed by a release candidate in the spring and RTM in the summer before the OS is released to the public in the fall.
Source: Building Windows 8 Blog