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Windows 8 has just been released to manufacturing, as expected; Microsoft recently revealed that this would happen at the beginning of August. What does this mean? Well, the OS has been finalized, and the final build is being sent out to OEMs/partners as we speak.

Microsoft has taken some huge risks with Windows 8, and we’re finally about to see how these decisions will play out. Opinions on Windows 8 from technology pundits and reporters have largely been mixed thus far, but I’ve personally seen quite a lot more extremes than more balanced mixed feelings; people seem to either completely love it or completely hate it. We’ll also see just how well Windows 8 tablets will fare once they begin hitting store shelves towards the end of the year.

Windows 8 logo

And speaking of tablets, Microsoft’s own highly-anticipated Surface will be coming out on October 26th, which is the same day that Windows 8 will be generally available to public. With tablet competition heating up – iPad sales are still going strong, and, in the miniature, cheaper tablet front, Google just released the Nexus 7 and Apple may release the iPad Mini in September – it will be interesting to see whether or not the hyped-up Surface will see strong sales this holiday season.

So, what’s the final build string? It’s definitely not build 8888, as some hopeful rumors have previously stated; rather, we can now confirm that it is 9200.16384.win8_rtm.120725-1247, as more sensible rumors have revealed. We’re still over two months away from Windows 8 actually going on sale through retail channels, us early adopters – I’m sure many of you are reading this post – will be able to snag the build through MSDN and TechNet in the coming days. There are probably some other fairly dodgy places where you will find the build, but I’d advise that you only download it directly from an official, trusted channel, like MSDN or TechNet, come August 15th.

So, you early adopters will be able to go ahead and grab the build very soon and take it for a spin. Consumers: You will be able to purchase Windows 8 from October 26th onwards, a small wait, but worth it.

(source WindowsTeamBlog)

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