During an invite only event in San Francisco, CA earlier today Microsoft revealed plans for their Windows Store which will be available with Windows 8. During that presentation they also confirmed the Windows 8 Beta date.
According to a tweet from Ina Fried of All Things Digital the beta of Windows 8 will be in late February 2012 and the Windows Store will debut at the same time. The only caveat with the Windows Store is that all apps that will be available will be free and, according to an update on the All Things Digital live blog of this event, those submissions will only be by invitation.
I imagine Microsoft will work with popular companies and partners to get their applications in the store for the beta.
Another interesting detail I picked up from Twitter during this event was that the Developer Preview of Windows 8, which was released during the Microsoft Build conference in September 2011, has been downloaded over 3 million times. For a pre-release alpha version of an operating system that is staggering. Plus it means Microsoft is getting all kinds of telemetry data on how users interact with Windows 8.
It is believed similar data during the Windows 7 public beta contributed to its success as an operating system.
I am really looking forward to seeing this beta and hope we get a demo during CES 2012 in January 2012.