Product development and testing is complete and Microsoft’s OEM partners are now being given the final code for its latest operating system, and manufacture of Windows 8 PCs and tablets is under way.
These devices can be expected to hit retailers in autumn and will feature a departure for Microsoft’s operating system, with a reimagined Windows experience from the chipset to the UX.
Windows 8 has seen Microsoft’s most extensive pre-release testing, with more than 16m PCs having taken part, including about 7m taking up the release preview introduced two months ago. The final release is build 9200 and contains numerous changes, updates and refinements.
Windows Store now open for Windows 8 developers
With Windows 8 released to manufacturing, the Windows Store has also been opened up for company registrations for businesses in supported markets that wish to submit Metro-style apps for Windows 8. Eventually, more than 200 markets will be supported, and 38 submission languages are currently available for app certification. Transaction support has also been enabled so developers can now submit paid apps and incorporate in-app purchases.
To upload apps, developers will need the final build of Windows 8, and this code will be rolled out via the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) from 15 August. However, companies are encouraged to register now, as account verification takes time.
Early access to the final code will be rolled to select audiences throughout August. IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organisations will also get the final version on 15 August through TechNet.
The following day, 16 August, customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Centre to test and begin adopting it within their organisation, while members of Microsoft’s Partner Network will also get access to Windows 8 on this date.
Finally, on 20 August, access to Windows 8 will be rolled out to Microsoft Action Pack Providers.
Windows 8 will see general release on 26 October.