Windows 8 launches October 26

Just when you'd gotten nice and cosy with Windows 7--certainly the finest version of the operating system in many a year--Windows 8 swaggers in, clad in a shiny but questionable new interface. Microsoft announced yesterday that it'll launch on October 26, available only in upgrade form or in a new PC.

Along with the new Metro interface, Windows 8 boasts faster startup times, Xbox Live integration, a new app store, PIN and picture authentication options, a revamped File Explorer, native USB 3.0 support, and more stuff detailed over on Wikipedia.

If you're running Windows XP, Vista or 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $39.99, which seems awfully reasonable.

Look, here's a demo of the recent Consumer Preview build, running on a tablet and a laptop: