The next operating system from Microsoft is almost here. After posting the Developer and Consumer previews, on May 28 the company let loose the Windows 8 Release Preview. In addition to packing bug fixes to make for a more stable and consistent user experience, the Release Preview includes improvements to existing apps like Mail, Photos, and People and introduces new Bing-powered apps Travel, News, and Sports. Also included is Zune Pass integration, Flash support in Internet Explorer 10, and of course a broader selection of apps in the Windows Store as developers start to hop aboard the Metro bandwagon.
The Windows 8 Release Preview is available for download today in 14 languages today; click here to access the free download. The final version of the touch-friendly OS is out later this year. PR after the break.
Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows 8 Release Preview
May 31, 2012
Windows Upgrade Offer introduced, which gives consumers a path to Windows 8 upon general availability.
REDMOND, Wash. – May 31, 2012 – Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview, the next milestone of the highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Available for download today in 14 languages at http://preview.windows.com, the Windows 8 Release Preview delivers a fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. Since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with today’s release, it enters its final phase of development before it releases to manufacturing.
“We’re thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.
New Apps Provide an Even Richer Experience
Windows 8 Release Preview delivers new apps from Microsoft and partners. Highlights include Bing Travel, News and Sports apps, as well as Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with your Zune pass. The Windows 8 Release Preview also features notable improvements to the Mail, Photos and People apps that initially debuted with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. In addition, Microsoft has worked closely with its partners to deliver apps from around the world through the Windows Store.
Beyond the new apps from Microsoft and partners, customers testing the Windows 8 Release Preview will also experience tens of thousands of refinements across the product, such as increased personalization options for the Start screen, improved multimonitor support, refinements to the way people find and download apps through the Windows Store, and new Family Safety features. The new Internet Explorer 10 redefines browsing, particularly for touch-enabled devices. The Web is as fast and fluid as any app, and with new capabilities in the Windows 8 Release Preview such as “flip ahead,” it is just as intuitive. A touch-friendly and power-optimized Adobe Flash Player is now integrated into Internet Explorer 10, and it is also the first browser to feature Do Not Track “on” by default, giving customers more choice and control over their privacy.
The Path to Windows 8
Beginning June 2, 2012, Microsoft will roll out the Windows Upgrade Offer in 131 markets, including the U.S. and Canada. Consumers who buy eligible Windows 7-based PCs through Jan. 31, 2013, can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $14.99 (U.S.) during the time of the promotion. More information about the Windows Upgrade Offer will be available June 1. In addition to the Windows Upgrade Offer designed for consumers buying new Windows 7-based PCs, Microsoft will also announce other offers in the coming months that will help consumers with existing Windows 7-based PCs upgrade to Windows 8 when it is generally available.
In the next month, Microsoft will further detail the value Windows 8 brings to businesses at TechEd North America. More information about Windows 8 and how to download the Windows 8 Release Preview is available at http://preview.windows.com.