Windows 8 to officially kick off at 12:01 a.m. Friday

PC users looking to upgrade to the OS or buy a new Windows 8 PC or tablet will get their chance first thing Friday.

Ballmer plays up Windows 8.
Ballmer plays up Windows 8. CNET

NEW YORK -- Windows 8 finally makes its grand and official entrance tomorrow.

The new OS and an array of supported devices go on sale starting 12:01 a.m. on Friday in all time zones.

At today's Windows 8 event here in New York, CEO Steve Ballmer touted the new OS and the variety of devices that it supports, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and hybrids. Some of the new Windows 8 devices flip, some dock, some convert, and some attach, Ballmer said.

Of course, Microsoft is muscling its way into the tablet market with its own Surface, slated to also go on sale tomorrow.

Ballmer especially touted the use of touch for Windows 8, saying that people can choose tablets as well as touch-based laptops, hybrids, and all-in-one PCs.

In usual Ballmer fashion, the CEO said that he's excited about the new OS, adding that "we've truly re-imagined Windows and kicked off a new era."

Ballmer ticked off a list of apps and services offered through Windows 8, including Internet Explorer 10, SkyDrive, Bing, Skype, Outlook.com, and Xbox Music and Videos. He also played up the cloud angle, meaning the ability to connect your computers to your "stuff" as something "magical."

Full coverage: Windows 8

Of course, Microsoft is looking for Windows 8 to perform some magic on its bottom line.

Ballmer himself said he expects 400 million new PCs to be sold, most of which will run Windows 8. He also sees 670 million potential Windows 8 upgrades, at $40 a pop. But just how many people will embrace the new and different operating system remains a big question mark.

As Windows 8 and Windows 8 devices go on sale tomorrow, Microsoft will be waiting to see if Ballmer's optimistic projections come true.

 

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