Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist

As of 12:00pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time, the “Release Preview” version of the Windows 8 operating system is now available in 14 languages for free download at http://preview.windows.com .  The official press release includes the following information:

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.

Additional information about the Windows 8 Release Preview can be found at these various official news channels throughout the day starting 12:00 PDT May 31, 2012:

Building Windows 8 Blog

Windows Experience Blog

Windows 8 Developer Blog

Windows for your Business Blog

Cheers,

Randy

Follow me on Twitter: @RandyGuthrie