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Preview of Windows 8 for tablets, PCs hits internet (VIDEO)

A developer preview of Microsoft's Windows 8, designed for touch-screen tablets and PCs, is available for download, offering a first look at the operating system.

Windows 8 09 14 2011Enlarge
Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, talks about the next version of Windows running on 'System on a Chip' (SoC) architectures at a Microsoft press conference at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show January 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A developer preview of Windows 8, the latest incarnation of the Microsoft operating system that is being designed for touch-screen tablets and PCs, became available online Tuesday for a first look. 

The preview of Windows 8, which is a pre-beta version of the operating system, is aimed at developers but anyone can download it, CNET says. A demo of it was shown at Microsoft's Build conference this week.

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At the Build conference, Steven Sinofsky, head of Microsoft's Windows division, introduced Microsoft's new tablet running a test version of Windows 8. He didn't announce a specific timeframe for the beta version, but there are rumors it may launch at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, CNET says, citing WinRumors.

Developers interested in using the Windows 8 system and developing apps for it can download the toolkit available online, the Washington Post says.

Sinofsky said Windows 8 “reimagines what Windows can be."

“Things are a lot different than they were three years ago in computing,” Sinofsky said, according to the Post. “And they’re a lot, lot different than they were in, say, 1995, the last time Windows went through a pretty significant and bold overhaul.”

The Windows 8 tablet could put Microsoft into fierce competition in the tablet arena with Apple and Google, the Post says.