Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, giving users a sneak peek at what its new OS has to offer.
The consumer preview allows users to test Windows 8. Microsoft initially made it available to developers and experienced 3m downloads, but it has extended this now to a wider range of people.
“With Windows 8, we re-imagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.
“The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC,” he said.
Microsoft unveiled new updates to Windows 8 at an event in Barcelona, Spain, which included beta opening of the Windows Store, which offers a variety of new apps for the OS. The store offers apps from Microsoft and third-party developers and gives personalised recommendations to users. The OS also lets users take apps and settings with them across multiple PCs.
The OS offers cloud connectivity across Windows PCs and Windows Phone devices. There is an optional additional sign in with a Microsoft account which offers new features, such as the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email and contacts and connect to more services.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview also includes a look at Internet Explorer 10, which Microsoft said has been "re-imagined" to create new experiences for Windows 8 devices. It now has an edge-to-edge interface to show more of the web page.
Microsoft also displayed Windows 8 running on new x86- and ARM-based reference hardware, which will be available to selected developers for trial and testing.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available to download globally now.