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Windows 8 is here, for developers (or anyone at all) to download right now. Well, a pre-release version at any rate. Microsoft launched the developer version alongside a preview of Windows 8 at BUILD, its Windows hardware and software conference. The OS aims to bring touchscreen user-friendliness to an intuitive environment.
There are no limitations on who can download it, and all that stands between the user and an early build of Windows 8 is a 4.8GB file. Microsoft has lowered the bar of entry as far as system specifications go, with a 1GHZ, 1GB of RAM computer as the recommended platform. Windows 8 was designed with tablets in mind but will work for both non-touch and touchscreen devices.
Microsoft has warned that this is an extremely early build and is far from the final product which it will be releasing sometime in the future. On the official site a disclaimer reads:
The Windows Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers. These downloads include pre-release software that may change without notice. The software is provided as is, and you bear the risk of using it. It may not be stable, operate correctly or work the way the final version of the software will. It should not be used in a production environment. The features and functionality in the pre-release software may not appear in the final version. Some product features and functionality may require advanced or additional hardware, or installation of other software.
The developer preview of Windows 8 will run on x86 computers only, but will function in both the 32-bit and 64-bit environment.
Developers who made it to the BUILD conference received an incredible surprise from Microsoft, namely an 11″ Samsung tablet preloaded with Windows 8. Only 5000 were given out with no plans to sell them to public.
Windows 8 is close to being finished, with the tile-based UI in a complete state that will very likely remain the same on launch day. When the developer preview wraps up, a beta will be released. It is here that the remainder of the issues will be worked out of the system.
Microsoft fans can watch Steven Sinofsky present the launch of Windows 8 in its entirety in the video below: