October Tech Bonanza Coming: iPad Mini, Windows 8, Surface, Google Phones

Microsoft, Apple, and Google race to announce gadgets before the holidays

ByABC News
October 8, 2012, 5:38 PM

Oct. 9, 2012 — -- While the candidates may be racing against each other on the campaign trail and fighting it out on the podiums this month, the tech giants are up to something very similar.

This month the major technology companies are all racing to get their new products on shelves and one-up the others with better feature sets and price tags. Before the month is out, Apple, Microsoft, and Google are expected to make significant product announcements.

Of course, all the companies are preparing for the big holiday gadget buying season. "All of these consumer technology announcements are about getting people excited for the holiday selling cycle, which constitutes up to 40 percent of all consumer technology sales," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News.

Moorhead explained the end-of-October rush. "Manufacturers have to announce, ship and educate the retail channels on all new products by mid to late October to make it for mid-November sales."

Call it a tech bonanza or a techravaganzaa! Below is what you can expect in the next couple of weeks.

Apple iPad Mini
Launch Date: Mid-to-end October

Amazon is ready with its $199, 7-inch Kindle Fire HD. Barnes & Noble's Nook HD is ready. So is Google with its Nexus 7.

And Apple is about to be ready too with its own smaller, cheaper tablet.

After months and months of rumors, Apple is expected to release a smaller version of its iPad -- dubbed the iPad Mini -- later this month. According to reports it will have a 7.85-inch screen, the same Lightning charging port as the iPhone 5, and an aluminum body. There's no word on the pricing, but it is expected to be competitive with the others. Check out more of the rumors here.

Microsoft Windows 8 and Surface
Launch date: Oct. 26

Apple's plan to release the iPad Mini in October might just be a matter of manufacturing timing, or it might have to do with Microsoft's forthcoming splash around Windows 8. After showing off the software for almost a year, Microsoft is ready with the next version of its operating system for tablets, laptops, and desktops. Windows 8 will begin shipping on new tablets and computers from Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and more on Oct. 26. You will also be able to buy the software and upgrade on that day.

But there's another major launch coming around the 26th -- Microsoft's own tablet, called Surface. Microsoft hasn't confirmed the exact date of release or the price.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Launch date: Oct. 29

Microsoft's just not planning to sleep this month (which means we won't be either!). After releasing Windows 8 it is planning to release Windows Phone 8 on Oct. 29 at an event in San Francisco. The phone operating system has been previewed and has some new features, including new homescreen customization options and maps. Nokia, HTC, and Samsung have already announced plans to release phones running Windows Phone 8 and those are supposed to be out shortly after the launch.

Google Nexus by LG
Launch date: Late October

Google is not going to let the other tech giants steal the limelight all month. Google has been rumored to release the next version of its Nexus phone at the end of the month as well. (Google's Nexus phones have typically been made in close partnership with Google and another company. They also are the first phones to run a brand new version of Android.)

CNET has reported that this time around Google is working with LG and will together launch a phone similar to LG's current Optimus G, which has an HD 4.7-inch screen. But instead of Android 4.0, it will run the new Android 4.2, which will have all new features. Other sites have also reported that there will be other Nexus phones launched by Google around the same time.