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Windows 8 launches in preview mode

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Microsoft

(Read caption) Microsoft launched a consumer preview of Windows 8 today. Here, a Microsoft store in San Diego.

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Microsoft today took the wraps off Windows 8, the latest iteration of its popular operating system, and the first to be designed as a cross-platform OS – on traditional desktops, laptops, and on tablets. Users interested in getting a sneak peek of the OS, which will likely launch later in 2012, can navigate to this page, and download a preview version of the software. 

"[The preview] represents a work in progress, and some things will change before the final release," Microsoft's Kent Walter wrote in a blog post today. "This means you’ll encounter some hiccups and bugs. One of the great things about widely releasing a preview like this is that it gives us a chance to get a lot of feedback through telemetry, forums, and blog posts on where we can smooth out some of the rough edges."

Windows 8 has been described as a mash-up of "Windows Phone, iPad and traditional desktop Windows." The OS features the Metro interface, a tiled-layout intended to appeal to users accustomed to uncluttered smartphone and tablet screens. Microsoft clearly hopes Windows 8 will appeal to a fresh generation of users. 

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