Windows 8 Public Beta Opening Breathes Life into 2012 Tablet Release Rumours

With the latest cyber-gossip reporting the public beta of Microsoft's highly-anticipated Windows 8 OS will open as early as February 2012, speculation has once again turned to the promised release of Windows 8 tablets.

News of the public beta's potential opening broke via tech site The Next Web, which alleged "sources close to Microsoft" had confirmed the beta would be opening in "late February."

Featuring the same tiled interface -- albeit with the core desktop version running underneath -- currently used on the Windows Phone OS, interest in the operating system's use peaked earlier in 2011 when Microsoft handed out 5,000 new Samsung tablet computers running a test version of the OS to developers at its annual developer conference.

Following the hand-out further speculation about Windows 8 tablets broke in October after Nokia France's head, Paul Amsellem, commented to Les Echos newspaper, "In June 2012, we will have a tablet that runs on Windows 8."

Amsellem's comments add to a growing number of rumours regarding a Nokia-made Windows 8 tablet. Earlier in 2011 CEO Stephen Elop dropped a slew of hints about a potential Windows 8 tablet during an interview with Bloomberg.

In the interview Elop described Windows 8 as a "supercharged" version of Windows Phone tailor made for use on tablets. "There's a new tablet opportunity coming," Elop commented on Windows 8's potential.

"We [Nokia] see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics," elaborated Elop, when questioned about the Windows 8 tablet's potential to combat the Apple iPad's current hold on the market.

Despite the firm nature of Amsellem's comment, when questioned about the Elop's comments, Nokia representatives were quick to reiterate a definitely-maybe sentiment.

"We have not announced any specific plans as it relates to tablets. What we have said is that we recognize from an ecosystem perspective that there are benefits and synergies that exist between Windows, Windows Phone and other platforms, where people are looking for complete digital experiences across the smartphone to PC to tablet, the TV and the automotive industries," said a Nokia representative when asked about the company's tablet plans.