Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Microsoft has today released the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. Whether or not your a Windows fan, Windows 8 looks to be a thoroughly promising departure from the company's traditionally cautious outlook.

Historically defined by a rigid adherence to the status quo and relatively minor iteration and innovation, Windows 8 represents a significant alteration in Microsoft's strategy. With an app store, a radically revised UI, and some promising new features, Windows 8 is shaping up to be quite a formidable contender for the coming year.

The Verge has a fantastic hands-on overview of the latest features. Tom Warren writes:

Overall Windows 8 Consumer Preview feels like a much more finished product that its Developer Preview equivalent. Microsoft has clearly taken steps to address some criticism over its Metro fullscreen approach for PC users, and its various gestures make it easy to navigate the operating system regardless of touch. The Windows Store will provide the best look at Windows 8 and its app offerings and will be the key component to Microsoft’s success or failure with its "Windows reimagined" approach. The simplification throughout its app strategy, and Microsoft’s message to developers is fresh, and the Metro approach across three screens (Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows) is starting to become a reality rather than a promise.

You can download the Consumer Preview here.