Windows 8 Beta Coming in February, App Store and All

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Microsoft now has official release timing in mind for the Windows 8 Beta. It’s launching in late February alongside the Windows Store for apps.

So the rumor we covered last week was correct. Microsoft still hasn’t announced a release date for the final version of Windows 8, but a fall debut seems likely. Device makers have been talking about releasing Windows 8 tablets in the second half of 2012.

(PICTURES: The First Windows 8 Tablet)

At an event on Tuesday, Microsoft offered some more details about the Windows Store. According to The Verge, paid Windows 8 apps must cost at least $1.49, and no more than $999. To encourage development of popular apps, Microsoft will reward developers 80 percent of revenues after an app earns $25,000, instead of the usual 70 percent.

Of course, the Windows Store will accommodate free apps supported by advertisements, and trial software with in-app purchases. For those purchases, and for subscription-based content, developers will be able to use Paypal or other alternatives to Microsoft’s own payment system.

Some of the stuff Microsoft talked about, we already knew from the company’s Build conference in September. For example, the Windows Store will be the only place to get “Metro-style” apps. These apps use the same aesthetic as the rest of Microsoft’s operating system and can show live updates on the Windows 8 start screen. Also, users who visit an app developer’s website in Internet Explorer 10 will see an icon that takes them straight to the app page in the Windows Store.

For the beta, only free Windows 8 apps will be available. App development began in September, when Microsoft handed out preview tablets to attendees of its Build conference.

(MORE: Windows 8: What You Need to Know)