ZDNet and other publications note that the 1st consumer beta version of Windows 8 should be available for download tomorrow

Windows 8 Consumer Preview – Launch Date 02/29/2012

QUOTE: Microsoft is launching the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 on February 29. By going with the “Consumer Preview” name rather than the traditional “beta,” the Softies are emphasizing that the coming bits are ready for everyday users to try on their x86/x64 PCs and tablets. 

Those who will be downloading for the first time the Windows 8 bits with the Consumer Preview won’t have early Developer Preview experiences and expectations against which to compare. Some who have used or seen Windows Phones will likely see the Consumer Preview, with its Metro-inspired Start Screen as similar in look and feel. Those who’ve seen and used the Windows Phone hubs (People, Messaging, Office, etc.) will likely grok more quickly how to work with Windows 8. For the other 99 percent — the non-Windows Phone users out there — Windows 8 is going to look very different and feel unlike previous versions of Windows. 

ts launch event starts at 3 pm CET/9 am ET on February 29 in Barcelona. The event is not being Webcast. Nonetheless, we’ll have coverage throughout the day tomorrow on ZDNet on all things Windows 8-related.