We all know that Microsoft is preparing to sign off on the code for Windows 8.1 and ship it off to OEMs, this is nothing new, but we suspect that if you follow all the leaks closely, you will be curious when the platform will hit RTM. While we don’t have an exact date, we do have another milestone that will help paint the picture.
According to our sources, Microsoft has pegged August 23rd as the final test date for the Windows 8.1 codebase, meaning, we will likely not see the RTM sign-off occur before this date and it will likely follow the testing close window.
Now, this may seem a bit obvious as Microsoft typically waits until the last possible moment of the given time-window to sign off on the code but we had been hearing rumors that this upcoming Tuesday would be the RTM sign-off day.
Additionally, we are also hearing a similar report to Mary Jo Foley who said that RTM bits would not be available to developers directly after sign-off. While our source could not 100% confirm when the bits would become available, they stated that they did not see a planned released date for MSDN/Technet subscribers.
With that being said, RTM seems to be a bit more of a pomp and circumstance if Microsoft truly does not make the platform available to developers closely following RTM as it is expected that they will continue to tweak the code post RTM before it arrives in consumer hands. Additionally, current indications suggest that we could see Windows 8.1 arrive sometime in October to follow Microsoft’s yearly cadence.
Windows 8.1 will bring quite a few new features to the table including the return of the Start button, enhancements to the Modern interface, and a bunch more. Steve Ballmer has referred to Windows 8.1 as a refined blend when making the comparisons of Windows 8.1 to coffee.