Coming Soon: Windows 8 Could be released as early as this holiday season By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Apr 4, 2011 12:13 PM CDT 21 comments Comments In this Jan. 19, 2011 photo, three Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems are on display at a computer store in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) (Newser) – It seems like only yesterday that Microsoft released Windows 7—and indeed, most of us haven't gotten around to upgrading to that version—but already, Windows 8 is nearly upon us. Web forums were filled with news and rumors last week after PC manufacturers and equipment makers got "early beta" test versions of Microsoft's latest PC operating system. Why so soon—just 17 months—after Windows 7 hit shelves? Tablets, CNNMoney reports. Windows 8 will operate on the same technology that powers most smartphones and tablets, meaning that it will function on a much wider range of devices than Windows 7 does. Windows 8 is also expected to include tablet-ready features including enhanced graphics, 3D support, facial recognition, and an app store. Analysts predict it will be released between this summer and the first quarter of 2012. CNET has more on the new features, including an expanded use of the ribbon interface and a new welcome screen.