Just like we said yesterday, Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Release Preview on the stipulated date. As with the Consumer Preview, you can download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant that analyzes your computer and provides a smaller download or you can download the full 32-bit or 64-bit ISO files.
Among the major changes in this new version includes a bunch of new apps that include Bing Travel, News and Sports apps, as well as Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with your Zune pass. The Mail, Photos and People apps have also been updated. There are also some other minor performance and usability updates such as increased personalization options for the Start screen, improved multimonitor support, refinements to the way people find and download apps through the Windows Store, and new Family Safety features.
But by far the biggest addition is the presence of Adobe Flash in the Metro version of IE10. Now as you may know, Microsoft previously said that there won’t be any plugin support on the Metro version of IE, which included the Flash Player and since it was going to be the only browser available on the tablet version of Windows 8, that means no way to view Flash content on your device. In this Release Preview, however, Microsoft has added support for the Flash Player, but it is a bit different from what we have seen so far.
First of all, the Flash Player in IE10 is not a plugin, like we see on every other device that has Flash, but is actually built-into the browser. Secondly, and this one is more important, it is a highly stripped down version of the Flash Player, with features that are not useful on touch-based devices being removed. This means that you may be able to watch a Flash video on YouTube but you won’t be able to use things like the drop-down menus on websites that use Flash because these things are designed for a mouse pointer and don’t work well on a touchscreen. Lastly, Microsoft will maintain a list of websites and the Flash Player will only work on those particular websites. All of this is done purely in the interests of preserving battery life.
Microsoft will also be rolling out a Windows Upgrade Offer in 131 markets for consumers who purchase a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 to January 31, 2013, who will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro when it comes out for just $14.99.
For now, you can download Windows 8 Release Preview from here.