Software giant Microsoft has apparently started shipping a build of its Windows 8 operating system to computer makers for testing.
If the company has indeed released the OS for testing to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), then the OS might be launched on schedule in late 2012.
According to a report on Win Rumors, the company has released Windows 8 build version 7971.0.110324-1900 to OEM partners through its Microsoft Connect external testing program.
The company has a lot riding on Windows 8, as it will also mark its entry into the tablet PC market. Microsoft's late entry into the tablet sector could mean, as was the case in the smartphone market, Microsoft ends up struggling against Apple and Google who have already established strong positions.
The Windows 8 operating system will come with a fully 3D and highly dynamic user interface, complete with the ability to adapt to user habits, Win Rumors reports. The OS will come with new and interactive icons and shortcuts. Microsoft has also apparently included a fast hibernation system, which will allow the computer to hibernate within 3 to 6 seconds.
Judging by the rate at which the OS appears to be moving, the company could be expected to release the first beta of Windows 8 in September this year.