The wait is over as Microsoft said on Thursday that the final beta version of its much-anticipated Windows 8 has been readied for download by those willing to try out what the giant software has touted as its most exciting product release in a decade.
Microsoft, however, issued reminders that its new operating system is officially in the release preview stage and the final release will not hit the stores until September or October 2012.
The advisory comes with an expressed declaration that tweaks may still be applied on the final version of the overhauled OS, which Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has described earlier as the company's "deepest, broadest and most impactful software yet."
That means Windows 8's official release later this year may carry or shed features that were deployed with the final beta version.
Those mulling a test drive of the product can proceed to this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download, where they can choose to download the 'Release Preview Setup' or the ISO version of the set up, the latter geared for the more experienced users.
Experts said that it would help and save a lot of trouble if users would first check out Microsoft's advisories in the same download page prior to taking the plunge on the new software that the American firm said will power every conceivable computing gadget in the future.
A review by PC World on its Web site warned that users planning to install the products must do so on a trial machine as the whole process does not include a roll back, a feature that was usually available on previous Windows versions.
Mr Ballmer had indicated that Windows 8 will be used by PC, smartphone and tablet computers vendors on their products and the wide array of devices that the OS would power in the future, he added, would hopefully bring up the company head-to-head anew with its rival, Apple.
The new Microsoft offering, Mr Ballmer said, represents the rebirth of the Windows platform, which the company said will attract some 500 million users by next year.
Mr Ballmer has envisioned that global adoption of Windows 8 will permeate traditional - desktop and laptop - and mobile computing, with the former hoping to regain its old glory and sales achievements that in the past years have been dipping due to consumers' growing preference on portable computing experience.
As Microsoft anchors the future of its core business on Windows 8, PC vendors, experts said, were also hoping to regain traction following the losses they incurred in the previous years as smartphones and tablet computers snatched much of the cream of the lucrative computing gadget market.
Microsoft engineers, the company said, have included the best possible mobile computing experiences - touch screen navigation, fast wireless connectivity and robust security - that can be included in the OS, rendering it likely to give Apple's iOS and Google's Android some amount of stiff competition.
Mr Ballmer was so confident of Windows 8's powerful features that he declared in a recent trip to South Korea that the product will be "the most popular single system," over the next three to five years after its official release.
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