With Windows 8 and now Windows 8.1, Microsoft tried – not entirely successfully – to make tablets part of a continuum that goes from number-crunching workstations and high-end gaming rigs through all-in-one touchscreen media systems and thin-and light notebooks down to slender touch tablets.
The general consensus is that it still has a long way to go to produce a unified OS. While there is no Windows 9 Road Map currently available, the not-so-distant past and the launch of Windows 8 provides us with some clues as to what might be next for Windows 9.
The event on Monday will probably see the release of the Technical Preview of Windows, often referred to as WTP, DP (Developer Preview) or CTP (community technology previews). That's just over three years after Microsoft unveiled the first public beta build of Windows 8, known as Windows Developer Preview).
Windows 8 Consumer Preview was unveiled end of February 2012 and we can expect a similar pattern for Windows 9 Consumer preview (sometimes in March, maybe even at CeBIT 2015).
A Release Preview of Windows 8 was unveiled on May 31, 2012 so a June 2015 release date for Windows 9 Release Preview (or Windows 9 Release Candidate) is highly likely.
All three preview versions will potentially expire on 15 January 2016, offering just over 14 months of free Windows 9 users to the earliest adopters.
Windows 9 RTM (Released to Manufacturing) will probably happen in August with selected partners (MSDN, Software Assurance) getting it a couple of weeks later.
The official launch event held in October or November 2015 and general availability generally following the next day.
A General Availability Cumulative Update might also be issued to iron out any potential kink ahead of the launch of Windows 9.
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