Mark your Microsoft calendars: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 launch dates revealed

Mark your Microsoft calendars: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 launch dates revealed

Summary: Expect September to be a month of Windows Phone 8 handset reveals, and late October to be the official launch of the coming devices.


We Microsoft watchers already knew October was going to be a crazy month, given Windows 8's general availability date is October 26.

But until this week, I didn't realize just how jam-packed that month is really going to be.

A source of mine privy to Microsoft's event plans, who asked not to be named, just shared with me dates and tentative locations for a number of Microsoft's upcoming launches. Some of these we suspected; a few we knew.

Windows Phone 8's build-up to launch started today, August 29, with Samsung showing off what's officially the first Windows Phone 8 device (but offering no pricing or availability details). September 5, Nokia is expected to show off some of its planned Windows Phone 8 devices, with AT&T rumored to be the lead carrier for them. And HTC is expected to be next out of the gate with Windows Phone 8 handset(s) -- around mid-September, I hear.

But October -- specifically late October -- is when things really ramp up.

October 25, the day before general availability, will be Microsoft's big launch event for Windows 8 and the Surface RT. And that event will be in New York City, the site of most recent previous Windows launches. (I don't know specifically where this event will be, but selfishly think it's nice that it's on home turf for me.) Windows 8 and the Surface RT ARM-based devices should be available (at least technically) at midnight, following the launch event.

October 29 will be the official "launch" of Windows Phone 8, I am told. I'm hearing this event will likely be on the west coast, either in San Francisco or Los Angeles. (Again, I don't know exactly where. A photo studio? Outside an Apple store?) But this is considered the "consumer launch" of the product, with handsets to be made available starting a week or two later, meaning early November, as other sources of mine had indicated.

October 30 to November 2 is Microsoft's Build 2012 conference, where the Softies will talk all things developer-focused around Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Azure, Xbox, and more. If you'll be in the Redmond vicinity on October 30, we're holding our second Build Blogger Bash that evening (tickets are limited and on sale now).

(In November, the coming Xbox Live dashboard update is expected to arrive, but I don't have details as to  whether there will be an Xbox event to coincide or where it will be.)

I asked a Microsoft spokesperson to confirm this timetable and was told there would be no official comment.

Topics: Microsoft, Smartphones, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Nokia Event

    Mary Jo,

    Will you be attending the Nokia launch event next week? If so, it would be a pleasure to meet you.
    • MS "spokespeople"

      "I asked a Microsoft spokesperson to confirm this timetable and was told there would be no official comment."

      These people sound like they have the easiest job on the planet. In fact its probably just an automated, second-rate Watson wannabe system powered by windows.

      Almost every question seems to get a "no comment" reponse, no answer at all, or just returns some canned press statement about some amazing new product.
      • It's all in the context.

        You forgot that these "no comments" are always responses to Mary Jo.
        That's not to assume other tech journalists get that reaction.
    • Nokia on Sept. 5

      Yes, I will be at the event(s) that day. Please, if you see me, introduce yourself! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Definitely!

        I'll definitely keep an eye out for you. I've been reading your work for a long time, so it'll be a pleasure!
  • So....

    January 26 for Surface Pro?
    • No, MSFT has already announced Fall

      • Surface dates

        MS said Surface RT, the one based on ARM, is fall... specifically Oct. 26. But Surface Pro, the Intel-based one, is due 90 days after the ARM one. Supposedly Intel chip-supply issue at heart of delay (?)... The Intel-based one will be able to run existing Windows apps; the RT one will not (other than the four MS Office apps which will be "included" with those devices.

        Mary Jo Foley
      • All I heard...

        was three months after the Surface RT, which is scheduled for October 26. Have you heard differently?
  • And the Windows Phone 7.8 Update fits in where?

    Just wondering if they're going to wedge that little gem in there somewhere too. Just sayin'.
    • It will probably be "released" the same time as WP8

      Your carrier will get it to you, .... well.... 6 months later or so, maybe....
      • Actually...

        When they announced it, they said it would be after WP8. I doubt they were referring to carrier delay with that, so after WP8 + carrier delay.
      • Not 6 month later

        No, not six month later because Microsoft also told they will push 7.8 WP update directly to users bypassing the carrier...
  • I fear...

    ... that once again AT&T will get flagship Nokia phones and Tmo will be left with a mid-range offering. Let us hope, nay let us pray, this isn't the case.
    • Rumors suggest...

      ...that T-Mobile is getting the Samsung ATIV S, actually.
      • Where did you hear that?

        The ATIVs I've heard about where Europe focused. I didn't read anything about the US yet. And no offence to TMO users, but it's usually not the first place to launch for OEMs. Unless they are doing all carriers at once, as Samsung has done in the past.
        • WPCentral

          Mostly rumors so far, but I've seen this news on WPCentral.
  • Still waiting for the Windows Phone 8 SDK

    Still a rather a Frustrating Wait for us WP Developers.

    Makes me wonder how many new Apps Will be in the Windows Phone Store by Late Oct, if they still not prepared to Release the Tools . I guess I was kinda hoping that the SDK and Visual Studio Templates would have been Released next week.
    • Good possibility...

      I think there's a good chance the tools could be released next week given that Nokia is their big partner, and they're clearly gearing up for their launch. Certainly I agree though... sooner is better for developers.
    • They should have been released at the June event

      Want to add nice WP8 features to your WP app, debug, test, beta, polish, submit, certify and have them in the store and ready for download on release day? MS thinks a couple months is plenty of time for you to do all that. MS what are you thinking, you want typical WP quality or android app level crapware? Get the SDK out already!
      Johnny Vegas