"The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012," Microsoft said. "At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices."
The Surface tablet was announced in June, but no release date or specs were given at the time. Microsoft has not confirmed at the time of writing if the 26 October release date covers the US only, or if it will extend to other markets.
While the Surface tablet release was largely expected to coincide with Windows 8 availability, this is thought to be the first time the date has been publicly confirmed by Microsoft.