Microsoft just announced that the Windows 8 Release Preview, the company’s final pre-release version of Windows 8, is now available for download. With this release, Microsoft is also making new versions of its Windows 8 apps for Hotmail, SkyDrive an Messenger available, as well as hundreds of new and updated apps from third-party developers in the Windows Store.
Other new apps in this release include a Bing Travel app, as well as Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with Microsoft’s Zune music service.
Microsoft says that it will focus its resources before launching the final version of Windows 8 on improving the installation process, security and privacy, as well as device and software compatibility. As Microsoft’s president of its Windows Division Steven Sinofsky noted, his team “will still be changing Windows 8, as we have done in past releases of Windows.”
We will be giving the Release Preview a good spin soon, but we already know that Microsoft has significantly improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8, for example. While this new version still features the Windows 8 Aero theme, we also know that this will be gone in the final release.
Microsoft also says that it has increased personalization options for the Start screen and refined the way “the way people find and download apps through the Windows Store.” The touch-friendly Metro version of Internet Explorer now also supports Adobe’s Flash player and features a Do Not Track feature that is turned on by default.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...