Early adopters should get ready for the first taste of Windows 8, and no, it’s not the Beta development milestone.
Instead, as I was expecting, Microsoft is sharing a pre-Beta Milestone 3 (M3) release of the next major version of the Windows client.
What the software giant is offering testers is a Windows Developer Preview. And just as with the new Internet Explorer Platform Preview releases, the first Windows 8 bits are designed for developers looking to already start building projects tailored to the OS.
In fact, the availability of the Windows 8 Developer Preview should be taken as an invitation from Microsoft to all developers. An invitation to explore all the new developer opportunities that Windows 8 catalyzes.
According to Microsoft, Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 downloads are planned to go live later this week via the new Windows Dev Center.
Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 was compiled recently, and still belongs to the Milestone 3 stage of the development process.
According to Steven Sinofsky, President, Windows and Windows Live Division, a lot of work has already gone into building Windows 8, including 2 million installs internally, 9.3 million performance tests, 1 trillion telemetry data points analyzed, and in excess of 380,000 hours of compatibility testing.
Just a reminder, Windows 8 will deliver the same full PC experience whether it’s running on traditional computers or tablets / slates and additional next-generation form factors.
Featuring support for ARM-based chipsets, but also for x86 and x64 CPUs, Windows 8 is optimized for touch devices and that’s why the new Metro UI Start Screen takes center-stage pushing the desktop to the background.
Windows 8 comes with Internet Explorer 10 (IE10), a new Metro platform for immersive applications, enhanced performance, its own Windows Store, and so much more.
Sinofsky made it clear that there are hundreds of new features in Windows 8 that await to be discovered, so early adopters should download Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 as soon as it becomes available and start testing.
UPDATE: "You probably want to try out the preview release—and you can. Starting at 8PM today, Seattle time, you can download all of the code that attendees at BUILD received. This includes 32 or 64 bit x86 builds, with or without development tools. The releases also include a suite of sample/SDK applications and the SDK (please note these are merely illustrations of potential apps, not apps that we intend to ship with Windows 8). The ISOs are linked to from http://dev.windows.com. You download with a Windows Live ID (which you might want to use to test out some of the new roaming features)," Sinofsky said.
Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.