Microsoft Releases Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Public

Microsoft posted public beta version of the next Windows operating system on Wednesday, following a debut event at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow.

Microsoft announced at Mobile World Congress that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available as a free download for testing. Photo: Microsoft

The pre-release version of the operating system introduces a brand new way to interact with your computer and a new vision for the desktop, which has ‘Metro’ interface the company created for its Windows Phone platform, writes Fox News.

“Metro, borrowed from the Windows Phone platform, takes a hard right turn from traditional Windows: Instead of files and folders, there are touchable tiles that fire up your apps, and those apps take up the whole screen,” says Mashable.

Metro has received positive reviews having changed the way we think about smartphones, like the iPhone did in 2007.

So, Windows 8 will actively provide you with information via tiles that flip and transform by themselves rather than waiting for you to, say, launch a website and visit Facebook or open your inbox to check for new email.

“With Windows 8, we re-imagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.

“The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC.”

In addition to the new interface, recently presented operating system includes several new features such as Windows Store (the first online store for Windows applications) and Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5 (the latest iteration of Microsoft’s web browser).

Besides the device has Cloud computing, thanks to a new user log on feature that lets you bring your settings with you onto a variety of PCs, and integration with the Windows SkyDrive online storage locker.

However, not everyone will find the system perfect. The touch screen Metro interface may confuse those consumers who don’t have touch-enabled systems. “This is a big gamble for Microsoft,” technology analyst Rob Enderle told reporters.

“Touch isn’t prevalent at all in desktop and laptop computers. Monitors often sit too far away from the user to make touch useful and there are few touch monitors in market, and those few that are cost more than most are willing to pay.”

Still, in case Windows 8 user doesn’t like the Metro interface he can change it to a more traditional-looking Windows desktop.

Bill Flora, one of the Metro designers, said Microsoft needed to give users both options because it does not want to alienate the vast numbers of people who are used to the traditional Windows appearance.

“It’s such a huge aircraft carrier they are trying to move,” Mr. Flora said. “They want to carry people along rather than make a clean break.”

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division, stated Windows 8 as a “generational change” in how the company views its suite of products because of the way it creates a “unified OS experience across devices.”

Mr. Sinofsky said it was the company’s hope that the new operating system would dazzle consumers. “It’s an awesome opportunity for us,” he said.

“Touch isn’t prevalent at all in desktop and laptop computers. Monitors often sit too far away from the user to make touch useful and there are few touch monitors in market, and those few that are cost more than most are willing to pay.”

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