Windows 8 is in the home stretch of the race to your computer screen. Windows 8 RTM software is ready to go out to manufacturers ahead of the October public launch.
Internal testing and development is done, so build 9200.16384.win8_rtm.120725-1247 is designated Windows 8 RTM. That's Release To Manufacturers, abbreviation fans -- not to be confused with Windows RT, which is for ARM-based tablets. It means the software code will be handed out to hardware manufacturers and companies that use Windows 8 across their business.
Manufacturers building laptops, computers and tablets powered by Windows 8 will get the RTM software first. Hardware partners include Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba. Microsoft is also launching its own tablet, the Microsoft Surface, on 26 October.
Then in two weeks, organisations that use Windows across their business or institution will start to get the code so IT teams can test the software with their existing systems. Microsoft says it will continue to monitor feedback in case any bugs crop up at this stage.
From 15 August, app developers can get their hands on Windows RTM to finalise their apps and submit them to the Windows App Store. For now, apps built with the release preview are available.
Windows 8 has a brand-new interface, based on Microsoft's Metro aesthetic, built around coloured squares inspired by the Windows Phone interface. The touchscreen-friendly large coloured squares that launch apps should work well on tablets, but it remains to be seen how it'll work on regular computers.
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