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Windows 8 pre-beta build to be revealed next week?

Company could provide a peek at a preview build of Windows 8 at its Worldwide Partner Conference next week, according to several reports.

Microsoft could show off a pre-beta version of Windows 8 next week at its Worldwide Partner Conference, according to WinRumors and other sources.

With WPC 2011 officially kicking off July 11, WinRumors cited a tweet on Tuesday from an account called @MSFTtm, which said that "Microsoft will release a CTP [Community Technology Preview] build of Windows 8" at the conference. Though a single tweet from an unverified source hardly makes it a done deal, WinRumors says this particular tweeter has been accurate in the past with news about Windows 8 builds.

Adding further fire to the rumors, tech site Windows 8 Beta says that "two independent sources" confirmed its earlier report that Microsoft would unveil the pre-beta build at WPC 2011. The site also claims that Microsoft will release the pre-beta builds to its gold partners just after the conference.

Recent rumors, if true, point to an aggressive timetable for Windows 8.

Citing one of her sources, Mary Jo Foley from CNET sister site ZDNet said that Microsoft will debut the actual and only beta of Windows 8 at its Build developers conference in the middle of September. That beta will be followed by a release candidate in January, with the RTM (release to manufacturing) edition slated for April.

Assuming that schedule holds true, then a Windows 8 pre-beta build next week sounds more feasible, giving Microsoft two months to transition to the full beta.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently said that Windows 8 would launch in 2012, a comment quickly shot down as a "misstatement" by his own company. But a few weeks later, Microsoft Vice President Dan'l Lewin hinted that the new OS would reach consumers during the fall of 2012.