2011 02 16 1753 300x195 Windows 8 set for Q1 2012 launch? We dont think soReports are popping up that Windows 8 might be dropping in, around, or slightly before the first quarter of 2012, leaving us both quizzical and skeptical.

A leaked Dell timeline has a Windows 8 tablet slated for release in the first quarter of 2012, tossing massive fuel on the fire that, yes indeed, Windows 8 might be coming sooner than we had expected. In fact, the last time that we brought you news of Windows 8’s release, we had it pegged for January, 2013.

Not that a 2012 release was ever out of the question, as ZDNet reported:

Windows 8, according to my tipsters, is just around the Milestone 2 mark, which is the second major internal build for the operating system. A public test build of Windows 8 isn’t expected by most until later this year. Microsoft officials have continued to say when the company is planning to ship Windows 8. GIven that Windows 7 was released to manufacturing in July 2009, one would think a 2012 launch date is a possibility. (I have heard from some that Microsoft, once it does talk dates, may say 2013 to eliminate any possibility of being “late.”)

Right, so a 2012 launch date is a possibility, but 2013 is probably more likely, and we should not see anything more than a public test in 2011, that all makes good sense.

And that is exactly why the supposed Dell tablet does not. If it is to be released in Q1 2012, it has to be preceded by the release of Windows 8, so either Windows 8 is coming darn early in 2012, in its first few days, something that we have seen or heard little to no indication of, or the timeline is just plain wrong.

We are leaning towards it being wrong. Still, never say never, miracles are supposed to be real. For now, Microsoft just wants to get the first service pack released for Windows 7.

Be sure and read all of our past Windows 8 coverage if you are behind the curve in terms of just what should be coming in the next version of Windows.