Windows 8 Release Preview on a Tablet

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There’s a new build of Windows 8 available called the Windows 8 Release Preview.  We thought we’d take a look at how it works on our old HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC.  Take a look at the video below to check it out.

Not a whole lot has changed within the primary operating system other than a nicer app launching animation.  We still have the customizable live tiles on the start screen, but with the release preview, a lot of the bundled apps have been updated for stability and more features.

The Pictures app has added a great new SkyDrive fetch feature.  It’s similar to what you have in the new web based version of SkyDrive where you can browse through the files on any computer that you have installed the SkyDrive app under your Live ID (if it’s turned on).  From the Pictures app, you can very easily browse through pictures on your other computers, in addition to the local computer, SkyDrive cloud storage itself, Facebook, and Flickr.

You’ve also got very nicely designed new apps for Bing News, Sports, Finance, and Travel.  They all feature large imagery and great looking typography along with horizontal scrolling.  One feature I really like in the Travel app is the panorama views.   The Music app now supports Zune Pass subscriptions, which is great for unlimited streaming and downloads of any kind of music you want.  You’ve got a “Play to Xbox” button in both the Music and Video apps as well, which still seems a bit buggy with my Xbox.  You’ve also got the Xbox games app where you can see what’s going on with Xbox LIVE and the Xbox Companion for controlling your Xbox remotely and browsing through content while the Xbox is doing something else.

The primary personal information apps still seem very unfinished.  The Mail app only seems to support your Hotmail email, but if you add an Exchange account to the People app, it will show up in the Mail app too… though for me, no email was synced. There’s still no way to add other email accounts from IMAP or POP3 servers, which is sorely missed.  The Calendar app has the same problem with only working with Windows Live.  It really needs to support Exchange, too.

A few things that you’re going to have to learn about Windows 8 metro apps is that many commands are hidden in the bottom edge’s menu bar.  A right click of the mouse or swipe up from the bottom will reveal these, but they’re not instantly discoverable.  The same is true with the search and sharing options.  Those buttons appear under the right edge of the screen and are often context sensitive within each app.  The Share command will often let you post things to Facebook or Twitter while also offering options to post to your WordPress blog, email, and anything else that a 3rd party app might be able to add to the Share menu.

Have you installed the latest preview version of Windows 8?  Let us know what you think.  If not, you can try it by downloading from here.

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!