Windows 8 is set to arrive in public beta form in February next year, allowing early access to to the new OS from the start of next year.?A post by The Next Web points to the February release date, citing sources close to Microsoft. It clears up a lot of the speculation over exactly when Windows 8 was set to arrive in beta form. Many expect a 2012 release for the final build of the OS, with the February beta adding further weight to this rumour. No exact date has been given for shipping of Windows 8.The new operating system sees a major departure from Microsoft's traditional UI, incorporating a home page which draws heavily from Windows Phone 7. The Metro UI of the OS uses similar live tiles to that of Microsoft's phone OS.?Windows 8 is also expected to be a cross platform piece of software, designed for both tablets and computers. No details as to what will be released in the beta currently exist, so we cant be sure whether it will arrive with the email function currently exempt from the developer preview.?Given the beta date it is entirely possible that we see Windows 8 appearing on hardware Christmas next year. Exciting stuff from Microsoft then, just shame the beta isn't earlier.