You can probably chalk this one up to the dramatic change Microsoft
introduced with its Metro user interface, but for what it's worth, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview has attracted twice the number of users as the Windows 7 Beta did after the same amount of time went by.
Microsoft made the statement on its @BuildWindows8 Twitter account and added, "Millions of people using everyday. #thankyou
." That's pretty impressive when you take into consideration the widespread concern and criticism over the Metro UI, vanishing Start menu, and Ribbon bar in Explorer. Those concerns haven't deterred users from downloading the Consumer Preview, and perhaps they're the very reasons why Microsoft's upcoming OS is being checked out by twice as many people as Windows 7. Train wrecks, if that's what Windows 8 turns out to be, have a way of attracting onlookers.
Unofficially, Windows 8 is likely to ship in October 2012, though Microsoft hasn't confirmed this. Microsoft did, however, recently reveal a paring down of SKUs to choose from. If you're running a x86 processor, you'll have two main choices: Windows 8
and Windows 8 Pro
. A third version -- Windows RT
-- is being built for ARM users. And that's it on the consumer side. You can read more about the Windows 8 editions here