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Microsoft Cloud: Article

Windows 8 Gets Closer to the Door

It’s supposed to be the last of a series of test versions before the revolutionary redesign is released to manufactoring

Microsoft now has an almost complete version of Windows 8 up on its site for consumers to try as the widgetry moves to GA in September or October.

It's supposed to be the last of a series of test versions before the revolutionary redesign is released to manufacturing and from there to market.

It's called Release Preview, implying that all the features are locked down including the new IE browser, web-based file storage and streamed music along with apps for news, sports and travel.

It can be had at windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview.

The first Clover Trail touchscreen tablets, laptops, thinny-thin Ultrabooks and desktops sporting the new operating system and its Metro interface turned up at the Computex show in Taiwan this week.

Using the preview version Acer, Toshiba, Samsung and Asustek showed off tablets. According to Bloomberg HTC wasn't let in because it lacks tablet experience and isn't expected to sell much. Its Q2 sales forecast is down 13%.

Intel is claiming 35 to start and 110 Macbook Air-competitive Ultrabook design-wins in the pipeline - Ivy Bridge-based and all likely to sell for a pricey $1,000 until the end of the year. Intel is eventually promising voice- and gesture-recognition but not to start.

Apple is expected to retort next week with new MacBooks and iMacs and the Mountain Lion release of Mac OS X. Mountain Lion is expected to borrow from iOS and employ iCloud.

Microsoft also has Windows RT, the Windows 8 version designed to support ARM chips where Android is currently supreme but fragmented. Microsoft might take the enterprise end but there are only six initial designs, two each for chipmakers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, according to Cnet.

Asus said it will have an 11.6-inch RT tablet with a quad-core ARM chip underneath by Q4. It should have 2GB of memory and 64GB of storage. Acer will follow suit in Q1. Both should have a mobile dock that converts the tablets into clamshell ultraportables, with a keyboard, trackpad, extra USB ports and second battery.

RT won't run the scads of x86 programs. Office will eventually be on it.

Qualcomm is reportedly supplying the first chips. It is said to have hundreds of design-wins. HP should have an RT tablet once the reference design is stabilized.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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