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Windows 8 Release Preview rolls out; Windows 7 upgrades to cost $15

The very latest preview version of Windows 8 has been released. If you have a PC available for testing, you can download the Windows 8 Release Preview here If not, you’re going to have to wait like the rest of us. Below, we’ve listed a few of the many changes between this and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview we tested a few months back.

What’s new in the Windows 8 Release Preview:

  • Core apps improved: Email, Music, News, Finance, Sports, Photos, SkyDrive, and Contacts apps have all been improved or added. Many apps seem to work quite well with Facebook and other social networks. 
  • Multitouch gestures on touchpads: Those with a capable touchpad will be able to use it to perform gestures on the PC. 
  • Flash support: Internet Explorer 10 has Flash support.
  • Silent improvements: Windows 8 now uses less RAM to run and supposedly uses memory more efficiently, according to PC World. It also has HyperV integration for backward compatiblity, improved multimonitor support, and needs less storage space.

For those afraid to buy a new PC now, Microsoft has announced that, starting June 2, anyone who buys an “eligible” Windows 7 PC will be able to upgrade it to Windows 8 for only $15 when it is released toward the end of the year. The offer is available in 131 “markets” including the US and Canada, but ends on January 31, 2013.

While this is a good offer, those seeking to actually utilize Windows 8 to its potential may want to hold out for new hardware. Windows 8 is best used with a tablet or laptop built with features like a touchscreen, GPS, and other phone-like features.

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