Steven Sinofsky has a new blog post announcing the availability of the Release Preview and the steps to their next milestone: Release to Manufacturing. Quite a bit of work left, but they can do it no doubt. Rumor has it that it could be done in as little as two months, with devices available around the 2012 holiday season.
The path to RTM is well defined and critical to the careful and high quality landing of Windows 8 for our PC manufacturing partners. The changes we make to the product from RP to RTM are all carefully considered and deliberate, including some specific feature changes we plan on making to the user experience (as we talked about in previous posts). This is a routine part of the late stages of bringing a complex product like Windows to market. Throughout this process, every change to the code is looked at by many people across development and test, and across many different teams. We have a lot of engineers changing a very little bit of code. We often say that shipping a major product means “slowing everything down.” Right now we’re being very deliberate with every change we make and ensuring our quality is higher than ever as we progress towards RTM. The product is final when it is loaded on new PCs or broadly available for purchase.