Microsoft Windows 8 Hits RTM at Build 9200, Starts Shipping to System Manufacturers
Microsoft announced on 1st August that it has completed the development and testing of Windows 8, a major upgrade of its OS for desktops, laptops and tablets and one of the most important product releases in the company's history.
Now Windows 8 is available to hardware makers that will release new PCs and tablets with the OS at the end of October, when the product officially starts shipping commercially. According to ArsTechnica, the final RTM got a sign-off with a build number of 9200, although the complete build string is unknown as yet. At release you will see Windows 8 with a version numbering of 6.2 for the kernel.
"Together we are bringing to customers a new PC experience that readies Windows PCs for a new world of scenarios and experiences, while also preserving an industry-wide 25-year investment in Windows software," wrote Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division wrote in a blog post.
Now it's crunch time for Microsoft. "Obviously, this is not the end, it's just the beginning," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. "Now Microsoft -- and all its partners -- need to execute all of it."
Windows 8 will run on devices with x86 chips from Intel and AMD, as well as on devices that use ARM chips. The ARM version of the OS is called Windows RT.
After hitting this RTM (release to manufacturing) milestone, Microsoft is reiterating the Oct. 26 date for the commercial availability of the OS in new devices as well as in stand-alone form as an OS upgrade on existing Windows PCs.
Microsoft has already announced two upgrade special offers for users with machines running Windows 7 and other versions of the OS.
Some Microsoft customers and partners, however, will get early access to Windows 8 this month, including developers, who will be able to download the OS through their MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscriptions starting on Aug. 15. On that same day, IT professionals testing the OS in their companies will gain access to it via their TechNet subscriptions.
On Aug. 16, the gates open for customers with Software Assurance contracts, who will get access to the Windows 8 Enterprise edition, as well as for Partner Network members who will be able to get Windows 8.
Four days later comes the turn for Microsoft Action Pack Providers, and on September 1st Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to buy Windows 8 from Volume License Resellers.
Microsoft has a Windows Upgrade Offer, available for consumers purchasing a new Windows 7 PC that are preinstalled with original versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate, that include a matching and valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity (COA). With the Windows Upgrade Offer, Indian consumers can get a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs. 699.