Windows 8 Release Preview leaked, Microsoft may raise OEM prices

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The Chinese version of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview has hit the Web a tad earlier than intended. The leaked ISO has been tested and confirmed legit by various sites, including PCBeta (Chinese) and WinUnleaked (English), and is readily available on popular torrent sites. Although the copy is in Simplified Chinese, several users report the ability to install an English language pack via Windows Update. Regardless, we recommend waiting for Microsoft's official release, which is due in the first week of June.

Build 8400 contains several changes from February's Consumer Preview, including improved support for multiple monitors, a new boot screen, as well as updated wallpapers and cursors. Aero Glass, the glossy translucent interface introduced with Vista, is expected to be removed by the final version of Windows 8, but it appears to be present in the Release Preview. Version 8400 also improves Metro, adding News, Travel and Sports apps, while Neowin reports that various other Metro apps have been updated this week.

Although Windows 8's features have been largely fleshed out, pricing remains unclear. However, players speaking with DigiTimes say that Microsoft may raise the price for OEM versions of its latest operating system, which could make it even harder for system builders to meet pricing guidelines on Ultrabooks. Meanwhile, previous speculation from NPD suggested that upgrade pricing would remain unchanged from Windows 7.

Pricing will likely be set and revealed within the coming weeks or months, possibly even in conjunction with Microsoft's keynote at Computex on June 6. Windows 8 has shared a similar development pattern to its predecessor thus far and Windows 7's pricing was revealed in June 2009. Full retail copies of Home Premium and Professional launched for $200 and $300, which may be tough to squeeze out of happy Windows 7 users.

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