Microsoft Delivers Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft has made Windows 8 Release Preview available to users. This will be the final prerelease version available for public testing before the product releases to manufacturing.

Microsoft has delivered Windows 8 Release Preview, the company€™s final prerelease edition of its new operating system, including Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps for connecting to Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger and more.

In a May 31 blog post, Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows at Microsoft, said a key goal for Windows 8 is to maintain higher levels of quality than Windows 7, which has done rather well to date€“550 million PCs and counting.

€œComing soon, we will see a new wave of PCs designed for Windows 8, along with new apps powered by the new Windows 8 platform,€ Sinofsky said.

Windows 8 Release Preview is available for download today in 14 languages . 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, Microsoft said.

Microsoft delivered a Developer Preview of Windows 8 at its BUILD conference in September 2011. And since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than a million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with the May 31 release, it enters its final phase of development before its release to manufacturing (RTM).

€œWe€™re thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview,€ Sinofsky said in a statement.

Ed Bott at ZDNet says Windows 8 is all about the apps:

"The underlying operating system is solid, reliable, full-featured and impressively fast. But it€™s no longer the star. The apps included with Windows 8 are the true stars of the new OS. Out of the box, a Windows 8 device will include a full suite of robust apps to handle communications (mail and messaging), digital media and information.The built-in apps in the Windows 8 Release Preview are light-years ahead of the rudimentary "app previews" that were included with the Consumer Preview release. Collectively, they leverage Microsoft€™s enormous multi-year investments in productivity software, digital media, and online services."

Windows 8 Release Preview delivers new apps from Microsoft and its partners. Highlights include Bing Travel, News and Sports apps, as well as Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with Zune pass. The Windows 8 Release Preview also features 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.