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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Windows 8 App Previews March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Paul Thurrott.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Windows 8 App Previews

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There’s been some confusion about the apps that are included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Many of these apps resemble Metro-style versions of apps that Microsoft currently includes in Windows Live Essentials, and that’s not a coincidence, as they too "complete" the Windows 8 experience. But they’re included only to provide testers with this more complete experience. They’re not part of Windows. Rather, most of these apps will ship with Windows 8 on most new PCs, and will be available separately, and for free, from the Windows Store.

So what’s an App Preview? According to Microsoft, its own internal apps developers began work on these apps at about the same time that external developers received the Developer Preview code at BUILD. And with the underlying Windows 8 platform only complete for about two months, these apps are not as far along as is the OS. So they’re branded as App Previews to differentiate them from the underlying system, which is more robust and mature.

To be clear, not all of the apps included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are App Previews. For example, the two included games, Pinball FX2 and Solitaire, are not. I think the naming here is telling, though, and not just for the fact that each app is incomplete.

In any event, here’s a quick rundown of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview App Previews…….

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Improvements to Mouse and Keyboard Navigation March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Improvements to Mouse and Keyboard Navigation

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While I probably had more experience with the Windows 8 Developer Preview than almost anyone–I used it as my primary PC platform for several months until the release of the Consumer Preview–it didn’t take much time with that version of the OS to realize that something was missing. And that’s because it was missing. Yes, Microsoft had nearly fully realize the touch experience for Windows 8 in the Developer Preview, because that was essentially a new interface paradigm for most users and the company wanted to get it right. But users of PCs with traditional keyboards and mice–i.e. almost everyone–noticed that the Developer Preview was quite lacking. And the complaints pored in as expected.

Folks, it’s all fixed…….

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: User Experience and Fit and Finish Improvements March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: User Experience and Fit and Finish Improvements

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With the Windows 8 Developer Preview, Microsoft made a promise about the future of Windows, a promise that is only now coming to fruition in the Consumer Preview. And that promise is this: While the major user experience changes in Windows 8 are indeed inspired by, and tailored to, multi-touch, they will work equally well with traditional PC interfaces, including keyboard, mouse, and trackpad.

Users who braved the Developer Preview hoping to garner some hint at this future, as I did for several painful months, came away disappointed. But that was by design, in the sense that Microsoft knew it had a certain amount of time to get the new, touch-based interfaces right, and it thus focused its efforts on shipping the new user experience first, while knowing that the keyboard and mouse/trackpad improvements could follow in a subsequent milestone.

But the Developer Preview wasn’t just incomplete from a user experience standpoint, it was also in some ways fundamentally incorrect. That is, because there were unfinished user interface bits, Microsoft had to implement small hacks just to get the Developer Preview out the door in a way that could be used………..

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Top 8 Features February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Top 8 Features

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Anyone using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be struck by how much more complete the experience is this time around, how the seemingly disconnected strands presented in the Developer Preview are all coming together suddenly, and wonderfully. Yes, there will be lingering questions from power users about the interoperability of the Metro environment and desktop apps. But really, the sheer amount of polish on this release should be a wake-up call to anyone who thought Microsoft would never pull this thing off. Windows 8 isn’t just real. It’s in great shape.

As you probably know, I have a ton of content for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and tons more to come. But before moving on to the next stage of my coverage, I thought I’d take a step back and reflect on the handful of things–OK, 8, what the heck–that really stand out in this release.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What’s New in the Consumer Preview February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What’s New in the Consumer Preview

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According to Microsoft, there are literally of thousands of improvements in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you’re familiar with the previous milestone, the Developer Preview, and only want a high-level view of the major changes, go no further. Here’s a comprehensive list of the most important changes Microsoft made to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Some are obvious, sure. But some may surprise you.

Note: This is by no means a complete list, and of course you should check out my many other Windows 8 Consumer Preview articles for even more information about the changes in this release.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Welcome to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Welcome to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

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For weeks now I’ve been biting my tongue, watching what I say and write about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But with the release today of this most eagerly-awaited Windows 8 milestone, the shackles are off. This freedom takes a few different forms for me. I can reveal that work on Windows 8 Secrets has already begun in earnest. And I have a ton of content to post here on the SuperSite for Windows, with more to come in the days ahead. Best of all, I can guarantee that you’ll find out things about Windows 8 here you won’t see anywhere else.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that I often write lengthy reviews of Microsoft products, including pre-release versions. With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, however, I’m going to do things a bit differently. This article will serve as a high-level introduction of sorts, providing you with a basic overview of what’s new and different in this second and most crucial milestone on the way to Windows 8. But scattered throughout the discussion below, you’ll find links to numerous other articles about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the vast majority of which are immediately available and dramatically expand on the overview provided here. This isn’t just information overload, it’s a tsunami.

Ready? Good, let’s dive right in.

Metro style app development February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in Microsoft, Software, Windows 8.
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Metro style app development

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Download the tools and SDK

Get the tools to build Metro style apps for Windows 8. Our free download includes Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Windows 8 and Blend for Visual Studio 11 Beta to help jumpstart your project.

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Experience the newest version of Windows and see for yourself how apps are at the center of the Windows 8 experience.

Explore the documentation

Our docs are optimized to make you more productive. Discover everything you need to plan, build, and sell great apps.

Read the developer guide

Windows 8 Consumer Preview introduces many powerful features for developers. Discover the new features for Desktop, Web, and Metro style app developers.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in *New Products, Beta, Downloads Links, Microsoft, Software, Uncategorized, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images

420965_10150603174698721_20528438720_9242330_625369686_n[1]

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO files (.iso) are provided as an alternative to using Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup. If you are on a PC running Windows and want to install the consumer preview on another partition, another PC, or a virtual machine, we recommend you download Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup and use the built-in tools for converting an ISO image into installation media, such as a DVD or USB bootable flash drive. You can find additional information, including a list of supported upgrades, in the FAQ.

Note before you download: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. If you decide to go back to your previous operating system, you’ll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC.



ISO images

An ISO image must be converted into installation media stored on a DVD or a USB flash drive. Instructions are provided on this page. Developer tools are available for download from Windows Dev Center.

English
64-bit (x64) Download (3.3 GB) Sha 1 hash — 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749
32-bit (x86) Download (2.5 GB) Sha 1 hash — E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39
Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J

The Verge Interview: Stephen Elop ‘more confident than ever’ about Windows Phone | The Verge February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in Microsoft, News and politics, Platforms & EcoSystems, Windows Phone.
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The Verge Interview: Stephen Elop ‘more confident than ever’ about Windows Phone | The Verge

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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is on hand at MWC this week to help spread the company’s message to business partners, carriers, and the press. Ever gregarious and approachable, Elop gave us a few minutes of his time today to discuss the first year of Nokia’s transition, which got started with the announcement of a strategic alliance with Microsoft in February 2011. He was candid about the downsides of this fundamental change in strategy, noting the number of jobs Nokia has had to cut in an effort to streamline operations.

Today, Nokia remains very much in the middle of its transition, says Elop, but a lot has been accomplished in those short twelve months. His present assessment of the decision to move to Windows Phone is no less sanguine than it was a year ago:

"One year later, after making our big decisions about strategy, I am more confident than ever that we made the right decisions."

Nokia’s impact on the development of the Windows Phone OS and ancillary services is only now starting to be felt and there’s a lot more that the company will look to contribute to the effort. Moreover, with Microsoft building up an entire ecosystem around the Metro style UI — with Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox Live — Elop believes there’s great opportunity to expand Nokia’s influence beyond the smartphone but isn’t willing to announce anything quite yet. Needless to say, he’s taking a long hard look at how Nokia can be a player in the tablet space.