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Taking a Look at the Windows 8 Release Preview, Part 1: Software

Release Preview Themes Of Windows 8.Jpg

The Release Preview of Windows 8 is out, let’s take a look at the software

The Release Preview is ultimately a more refined version of the Consumer Preview

The Windows 8 Release Preview is out now and available to download, and is largely the same as the Consumer Preview. The difference is that we’re months closer to the final release (October … ish), and as a result this build is more refined, so we’re diving into the newest version of Microsoft’s upcoming operating system.

As we know, Flash is the big addition in this version of Windows 8. I’m not going to set the scene for Microsoft’s backtracking again, but Flash support is limited. Microsoft has chosen to only support some websites, such as YouTube, to ensure performance doesn’t suffer. Considering how quickly Metro moves, it would be noticeable if Flash began to affect the OS. It’s a wise move by Microsoft, because Windows 8 is going to be running on low- and high-end devices. However, Flash is fully supported on the more traditional desktop side of Windows 8.

A piece of software called Synapse also debuts in the Release Preview, which allows gesture-less trackpads to support Windows 8 gestures. This includes gestures such as swiping to the right to show the Charms bar, a context-specific menu for performing functions. The software is apparently in alpha right now, though, and is therefore full of bugs. The core premise remains sound though, and it should ensure the experience is consistent across all non-tablet devices.

Users Discover Gestures Within an Hour

Tech website The Verge asked how Microsoft will help get users familiar with Windows 8, especially the Metro side which will be brand new to the majority of consumers. While the initial response was a less-than-reassuring the company is working on it, Gabe Aui – director of program management for Microsoft – said the company’s research has shown most gestures are discovered within an hour of use. Hopefully they’re discovered in a positive experience, not furiously trying to close a frozen program by slamming the trackpad or the touchscreen.

Next week we’ll be taking a closer look at the new apps in the Release Preview, so stick around for that. Windows 8 is still confirmed for 2012, with no firm release date from Microsoft. Expect October.

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Published: Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 Last Modified: June 2, 2012

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