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Mark your calendars folks, Microsoft’s Windows head Steven Sinofsky just announced that Windows 8 will officially be available on October 26th, 2012.

Sinofsky made the announcement at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting today. Microsoft previously hinted that Windows 8 would be released in late October, but it’s good to finally have specifics.

Current Windows users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 for just $40 with a digital download, or $70 in a boxed update available in stores. In a sign that Microsoft is aiming for clarity with Windows 8, it’s rumored that Microsoft is dropping the confusing “full retail” box version of the OS.

If you can’t tell by our extensive Windows 8 coverage, we’re excited to see where Microsoft goes with Windows 8. It’s obvious that Microsoft is trying to make up for lost ground by making the OS tablet-ready, but the more we see from Windows 8, and the more we hear about Microsoft’s Surface tablet (check out our extensive hands-on), it seems that Microsoft is attempting a longer play with this OS than it has with past releases.

Windows 8 is a complete reinvention of Windows as we know it. And while that will certainly lead to lots of complaints from consumers who can’t find their Start button, it sets Microsoft up to rule the post-post PC era, where all of our computers may resemble the Surface more than they do traditional laptops today.

In recent Windows 8 news, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said there are currently 20 Windows 8 tablets in the works, and we reported on how common sense (imagine that) is the key to Microsoft’s Windows 8 keyboard design.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

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