While there have been a few posts at the official Windows 7 blog, Microsoft has been closed-mouthed about Windows 7 timing. The only real dates given (besides the January 2010 date given earlier, and the late 2009 date given as a "targeted, but not guaranteed" date) as October's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) and Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), where the first in-depth technical details are slated to be presented.
No information given about the first beta however, aside from a note at the Windows 7 blog indicating that Microsoft Connect would be the way to sign up for the beta.
However, All About Microsoft has information from the familiar "sources close to the situation" that the first Windows 7 beta will be released the week before Christmas.
This may not necessarily rule out binary distribution at the two events I mentioned; attendees may still get alpha bits --- or nothing.
However, if that beta 1 date is true, and if Microsoft intends to ship out the product in late 2009, that's a year of beta at best, and less at worst. Even with a January date, as Microsoft originally stated, that's an uncomfortably short cycle.
The sheer number of issues that have been seen lately by updates being pushed out, much less a major OS release, doesn't give me comfort. One need only look at the issues with the PS3's 2.4 firmware update, iTunes 8.0, and more, to wonder if QA in general (meaning at all companies, period) has gone downhill.
Take a poll. Do you think that's enough testing?