Microsoft started its BUILD conference in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday with an announcement that likely made quite a few attendees squeal like extremely geeky school-girls: a developers-only preview version of its upcoming Windows 8 platform will be available “later today.” Free Samsung prototype PCs with the preview OS built right in didn’t hurt, either.
The software giant outlined several new elements developers can explore and discussed improvements made to its predecessor’s winning formula.
“Windows 8 represents a reimagining of Windows from the chipset to the experience,” said Stephen Sinofsky, President of Windows Live. “Since this is a week focused on developers, we also detailed the bold underpinnings of the re-imagination of the Windows platform, tools and APIs. We will show off the opportunity to build applications for all of the customers of Windows 8, no matter what type of PC they have – from tablets to laptops to convertibles to desktops.”
Sinofsky confirmed that developers could download an app-building 64bit x 64bit version or one without development tools. Of course, the preview comes with some caveats.
“Upgrade from Windows 7 installation is not supported for pre-release code; only clean installs are supported,” said Sinofsky. “Reminder: this is a developer preview release and is not meant for production. It is not a beta release.”
Microsoft has previously touted both the ease of transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and static hardware requirements.
Certain features shown off in the company’s keynote will also be locked out from developers, such as the Windows Live Metro Style apps and the Windows store. “The focus of the preview is the API and development tools for building Metro style apps,” he said. It’s unlikely devs will complain too much; limited, early access is certainly better than no access.
Sinofsky previously discussed some of those locked-out elements in entries at the Building Windows 8 blog. A brand new Windows Explorer interface, app store and an improved copy management system and more will ship in the final product.
Check back with MyCE for more coverage of Windows 8.