Today, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturer (RTM) so the final product is ready for release. After a year of testing and going through a large consumer test, the operating system is ready to be released. The code for Windows 8 is being sent out today to all of Microsoft’s OEM partners and final preparations for the upcoming PC models can now be tested with the final release of Windows 8.
This is Microsoft’s big push on making an actual change to their Operating System to not just hold onto their market lead as the top operating system provider in the world but also to regain some ground that it has lost in recent years.
Windows 8 is introducing the new Metro interface that is a complete revamp of the interface to Windows as we are used to it. While there is still a classic view built into the system it is being put in place to be more friendly with mobile devices, tablets, and just have a more streamlined interface in general. It allows a highly customizable by tile home screen that will let you have direct access to your favorite applications and information. It’s also including quite a few features to allow user accounts and preferences to be more easily converted between computers that use Windows 8. Microsoft allows you to have a personal feel and file access by their new cloud based SkyDrive storage that you can access it through an active Internet connection.
With manufacturers having direct access to Windows 8 as of today, the newest version of world’s most used operating system will hit the general public on October 26th and will be available as a $39.99 upgrade or by purchasing a new Windows 8 pre-installed PC. Also if you purchase an eligible Windows 7 PC between now and the official release, upgrading will only cost you $14.99. It’s a great added bonus for buying a new PC though keep in mind many upcoming models that will be released with Windows 8 will have more access to touch screens so the benefit for a new hardware purchase now might not be worth it 6 months down the line.
If you aren’t an OEM partner, Microsoft have released the schedule for when early audiences will be available to have access to the software.
- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
- August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
There are other partner programs still to be announced, but the major early adopters should have an idea of when they will now be able to get a copy of Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 8.
Related Link: The Windows Blog