It’s been one heck of a day for Microsoft watchers. It started out with MSDN/TechNet subscribers obsessively refreshing their browsers in anticipation of the release of the final version of Windows 8, but it certainly didn’t stop there. Nokia decided to drop the long-awaited Tango update for Lumia 900 owners at almost the exact same time that Microsoft’s new OS went live, and soon afterward both companies announced a joint press conference in New York, scheduled for September 5. I’ll be digging into these topics in greater depth throughout the week, but here’s a quick look at today’s excitement.
Windows 8 RTM arrives on MSDN/TechNet
As expected, the final version of Windows 8 was released for MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the late morning. This release is designed to help developers prepare their apps for the public release of Windows 8, which is scheduled for October 26. The final Visual Studio 2012 bits are also available.
Test Drive Windows 8
If you just can’t wait to get your hands on Windows 8, you can download a free 90-day evaluation copy of Windows 8 Enterprise. Microsoft, however, notes that “this version will expire and you cannot upgrade.” As a result, it’s recommended that you install this in a virtual environment or on another partition, so you won’t have to go to the trouble of reinstalling everything in three months.
Lumia 900 update now available in the US and Canada
The Windows Phone “Tango” update is now available on the Nokia Lumia 900, bringing with it a number of new SMS/MMS features, as well as the ability to flip the phone to silence it. Nokia has also improved the startup time, camera quality, and battery life. The Canadian version has a few additional improvements that have already arrived on the device in the US. To update it, simply connect the device to your PC via the Zune software client. Now if only the lowest volume setting wasn’t so loud…
Nokia and Microsoft press conference set for Sept 5
Nokia and Microsoft have also announced that they will be holding a joint press conference in New York at 9:30 a.m. on September 5. This press conference coincides perfectly with the Nokia World conference in Finland, so it sounds like this will be the official unveiling of the consumer side of Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s new handsets, or both. This also seems to fit with the rumored Windows Phone 8 launch schedule, which consists of a September 5 announcement, the release of the SDK on September 7, a few potential miscellaneous details during TechEd Australia September 11-14, and then a big launch on or around September 30 accompanied by details on when handsets will be available.
Toshiba delays its Windows RT PCs
Toshiba has announced that it has “decided not to introduce Windows RT models due to delayed components that would make a timely launch impossible.” This does not, however, mean that the company won’t be participating in the Windows 8 launch on October 26. Expect plenty of Intel-based PCs from Toshiba.
Use of the word “Metro” is/is not allowed in the Windows Store
Yesterday, Microsoft mysteriously added a requirement to the Windows Store certification document stating that Windows 8 apps must not “include the word metro,” noting that those that do might not make it into the Windows Store. This news comes on the heels of much confusion surrounding the name for Microsoft’s fast and fluid UI. Thankfully, this clause was quickly removed. Was it a mistake or a decision that was reversed? No one knows for sure. But for now, apps like MetroTwit appear to be safe.