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Windows too l8?

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At the launch of Windows 8 Microsoft fired off dozens of announcements and showed off countless features of the new OS. Attendees of the build conference in Anaheim, California saw features such as the Metro interface, support for touchscreens, improved performance and a Windows Store for apps are making headlines.

But the most apparent thing of all when watching Windows 8 at Build last night was the insistence that the Windows 8 devices were all PCs. Windows 8 on a desktop? PC. Windows 8 on a touchscreen laptop? PC. Windows 8 on an ARM slate? PC. Anything with Windows 8 code on it is a PC while anything that makes calls is a Windows Phone.

This seems like a bold move by Microsft; if you can't win the tablet race, don't acknowledge that it exists.

Taking a different tack than it did three years ago, Microsoft has made a preview of Windows 8 available to anyone who takes the time to download it. The Windows 8 Developer Preview, as Microsoft has called the pre-beta build. Download it here in both 32 and 64-bit versions.

The downloads, which range from 2.8GB to 4.8GB in size, come with no restrictions, a company spokeswoman confirmed earlier in the day. Microsoft gave customers their most-detailed look yet at the new operating system during a two-and-a-half-hour presentation at its BUILD Windows conference, which opened Tuesday and runs through Friday.

To me, one of the biggest deals here is Windows 8 support for all of Microsoft's cloud-based services--Hotmail, Windows Live, and so on. Another major advancement is Windows 8 support for touch and mobile devices -- most notably, tablets that don't have Intel inside. Execs showed three tablets running the developer preview version, launched today, of Windows 8. One was a Samsung tablet with an ARM processor. The other two tablets were based on Qualcomm's processor and the upcoming NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor.