Windows 8 now in the hands of PC makers

Yep, you better believe it.

Even if you’re just now getting used to Windows 7, guess what is inevitably on the horizon? Microsoft has already begun shipping out initial test versions of its next operating system to original equipment manufacturers.

This is a sign that the OS is on development schedule as planned and is still on track to come out with a final release in late 2012.

Although not much is known about Windows 8, it’s believed to have a lot of enhancements for manufacturers who want a Windows-based tablet OS, with touchscreen enhancements built into the backbone of the software.

Only select Microsoft beta testers and partners are getting their first look at Windows 8 as a result of this development milestone, so it’s unclear how long it will be before any of the official details start to trickle down to the rest of us.

However, unlike the transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7, consumers are largely happy with the latest version of Microsoft’s OS right now, so news about Windows 8 is likely to be met with peripheral interest and intrigue rather than with a critical eye.

That said, again, we don’t know much about it now, but after it does start getting in the hands of people outside Microsoft, we’re sure those details will start trickling in.