Windows 8 Beta Available To Download Today

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Microsoft has released its mobile friendly trial version of Windows 8 to the public. The company claims the latest version of the Windows operating system has undergone a “generational change,” evolving to accommodate new ways of mobile computing.

In designing Windows 8, Microsoft has adopted a perspective that values mobile computing, ensuring it is compatible with touch screen tablets, portable peripheral devices and Ultrabooks, without neglecting the existing needs of the existing Windows customer.

Windows President Steven Sinofsky at the WMC launching the trial version of Windows 8

“Windows 8 is a generational change in the Windows operating system,” said Steven Sinofsky, the President of Microsoft’s Windows Division. Sinofsky described Windows 8 as the most radical revision of Windows since its 95 iteration.

“We challenged ourselves to bring the best of mobility and the best of PCs, in an experience where you don’t have to compromise,” he said.

Their adherence to the mobile philosophy is obvious when you consider where they chose to show off the new operating system, skipping the CES show in Las Vegas for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The success of Apple’s iPad motivated Microsoft to transform their popular computer software into one that can be easily adapted to mobile computers, tablets and smartphones.

“As exciting as all these devices are today, we all face a little bit of a yearning,” said Sinofsky, wanting to be showcasing a tablet running his Windows OS.

 

Click to enlarge
Windows 8 on a tablet
“We too often have to choose between consumption and productivity, more battery life or functionality, a tablet or a laptop, a touch interface or keyboard and mouse. You want to have these capabilities no matter where you are or where you are working. The operating system should just scale with you.”

According to The Guardian, users will be able to bring along their desktop configuration with them when using Windows 8. By logging into their personal Microsoft account on a Windows 8 computer, their individual configuration will be retrieved from the cloud and applied to the computer they’re using.

When in touchscreen mode, people will be able to unlock their device through touch gestures. Once unlocked a desktop of live interactive tiles appears, each one feeding live content to the screen. Ultimately, their interface is a variety of vibrantly coloured tiles that are constantly communicating updated and relevant information to the user.

Programs and applications can be handled with the gestures people have become familiar with on smartphones, including pinch to zoom and the instinctive swiping. Even the age-old mouse has endured some innovation, with clicking any of the corners generating different menus.

It is still capable of multitasking but dedicates the screen to two apps at a time. Each one will be automatically adjusted to a preset of a quarter screen, half screen or three quarters.

Read: Windows PCs Now Kinecting With Voice & Gesture Controls

Microsoft hasn’t just been changing their computer based Windows software alone. The company has been aligning its Xbox and Windows Phone interfaces so that it is easy to alternate between different devices. There’s even conjecture the company will be bringing the metro interface to smart TVs, which wouldn’t be too out of character considering they brought the Xbox’s Kinect camera to the PC recently.

 

In doing so, the company solidifies a new and uniform identity, irrespective of the device.

Since the trial version of Windows 8 has gone live, it has been downloaded 3 million times by developers, who will populate its market with applications. Upon its launch the OS will support fine-tuned versions of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, popular gaming titles (such as cut the rope) and video sharing site Vimeo.

The software can be downloaded now prior to its “code complete” release which is expected to be in a few months. For a computer to work on Windows 8 beta, it needs to meet the following minimum requirements:

1 GHz or faster processor
1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver


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