We’re nearing the end of the year and you know what the means, right? It’s time to get rested and prepared for the early 2012 tech shows, that will usher us into the new era of computing. Apparently, Microsoft will play a big part here, with Windows 8 beta getting released early next year, after a CES 2012 demo.

The info comes from inside sources at Microsoft, but take them with a grain of salt, will you? The Next Web and WinRumors both support the story and this is a public beta they’re talking about, so it’s a big initiative. TNW is reporting that the beta will come in late February and WinRumors places it in January, but who actually cares about minor details?

At CES 2012 we’re supposed to see a near final build of the software and also a presentation of the Metro UI version of Office. Recently we’ve found out that MS might just give up Desktop model on ARM Win 8 tablets, but that’s not yet decided just yet. In the meantime we remind you that Nokia is also supposed to get in the tablet game, with a Win 8 slate getting ready to debut, maybe around next summer. Will that initiative succeed?