Microsoft releases Windows 8 Consumer Preview

1537_Win8Logo_01_008485DDToday at an event in Barcelona, Spain at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft have announced the availability of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

The consumer preview builds on the developer preview that was released last year during Microsoft’s Build conference. While the previous release was aimed at being mostly an API complete release, today’s release is about consumers and the features consumers will be using within Windows 8.

I don’t yet have an exhaustive list of what’s included in the Consumer Preview, but I wanted to touch on some of the key themes involved with Windows 8:

Metro-style interface – Continuing with the design experience as introduced with Windows Phone, Microsoft is bringing Metro to the desktop with Windows 8.  This is huge. Microsoft is give Windows a radical facelift and this doesn’t even begin to include the improvements to the Windows desktop.
Touch-centric interaction – Windows 8 is designed to be touch-centric. What this means is that Microsoft is intending for touch to be the primary interaction, but they haven’t forgotten about mouse and keyboard users either. The Consumer Preview is expected to contain many improvements for mouse and keyboard users.
App Stores are all the rage – Following in the steps of the Windows Phone Marketplace as well as Apple’s Mac App Store and the Android Market, Microsoft is introducing the Windows App Store.  The App Store will be used for distributing new Metro-style Apps as well as a listing service for Desktop apps. 

A key word that Microsoft has used over and over again is “reimagined.” Windows 8 is exactly that. Reimagined.

For more about Windows 8 or to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, visit http://preview.windows.com

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