Windows 8 release date announced -

Shy and retiring Microsoft CEO, Steve "there's a kind of hush" Ballmer has softly whispered to a gaggle of Japanese developers that Windows 8 will be out in time for 2012.

He whispered a time frame which indicated that the new OS would be in the shops in time for the end of the Mayan calender and will be the operating system of choice when the world ends.

It is the first time that Vole has given a time frame for the operating system and the first time that he has mentioned the OS by name.

According to ZDnet, Ballmer said that Windows 7 PCs will sell over 350 million units this year and in Windows 8 there was a lot more coming.

He said that over the rest of the Year, Mcrosoft is going to do a lot of talking about Windows 8 and where it will go.

Apparently there will be Windows 8 on "slates and tablets" as well as PCs. Yep, in Steve speak there is a difference between slates and tablets. We are not sure what that is, but we are sure that the man who has lead Vole to such sterling financial figures lately must know what he is talking about.

We guess it is part of an idea touted before that Microsoft slates will be built that use Windows Embedded Compact operating system rather than fully fledged tablets. The Windows Embedded Compact slates will be cheaper than Android and iOS tablets systems but have less functions.

These have been seen when Vole worked with HP to release the Windows 7-powered HP Slate 500.

Ballmer said that Vole will release the first beta of the OS in autumn and machines are expected to ship by Christmas and just in time for the end of the world.