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Microsoft has revealed it will release a 'Release Preview' version of Windows 8 in the first week of June. Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows unit made the announcement at a Windows Developer Days event in Japan, and it was promptly confirmed by the company's Building Windows 8 Twitter feed.
The upcoming release will follow the Windows 8 Consumer Preview available to users as a "beta" since February 29, and take us one step closer to the final version of the OS. Microsoft hasn't narrowed down a date for the latter but it is widely expected to land in October, three years after Windows 7 was released.
The company didn't detail exactly what will change and what will be included in the Release Preview, although if previous releases are anything to go by, this is what would normally be called a 'Release Candidate' and should be very close to the finalized code of Windows 8. From here, Microsoft will likely work on any remaining bugs before hitting RTM and seeding that to TechNet and MSDN subscribers ahead of a public release.
Last week, Microsoft announced that its latest operating system will come in three consumer flavors: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT (stands for runtime). The first two will be available at retail, while the third will only be preinstalled on ARM-based devices. This has been reduced from four retail editions of Windows Vista and three for Windows 7. The features included in each version are detailed here. Outside these, there will be an Enterprise edition that contains everything in Windows 8 Pro with added features for IT organization.