New Delhi: Microsoft has announced the availability of its Windows 8 operating system for its customers in India and around the world. Starting Friday, October 26, consumers worldwide will have access to the latest Microsoft OS on a wide range of Windows 8 PCs, ultrabooks, tablets and hybrid devices.
Windows 8 PCs and tablets will be available in India from 14 manufacturers – Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HCL, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo, RP Infosystems, Sai Info System, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Wipro and Zenith Computers. In India, over 250 Windows 8 enabled devices, including 23 completely new SKUs of Windows 8 PCs will be available across 100 cities and more than 2500 retail stores.
Besides new Windows 8 devices, consumers can also upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 8. Those who have bought Windows 7 PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 since June 2, 2012 can buy Windows 8 Pro for Rs 699. The offer applies to Windows 7 PCs sold until January 31, and the upgrade must be claimed by February 28. To claim the offer, register the machine at https://windowsupgradeoffer.com . You'll get an email with a promo code, which you can use to get the Windows 8 upgrade online.
But, those consumers, who bought Windows PCs before June 2, are qualified to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs 1,999. Those who prefer buying a DVD to upgrade will have to pay Rs 3,499.
Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail - Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. And for business customers, Windows 8 Enterprise offers new features like Windows To Go, DirectAccess, and BranchCache, as well as enhanced end-to-end security with features including BitLocker and AppLocker.
Also, the company launched Windows RT for ARM based tablets, which will be available pre-installed on new devices. With the windows 8 launch, the Windows Store is now open for consumers to download apps. In India, a range of free and paid apps that can be downloaded include Bharat Matrimony, BigFlix, BookMyShow, Bookyourtable, Burrp, Dhingana, Fastrack Tees, Flyte MP3, Gaana, Goibibo, ICICI Bank iMobile, ICICIDirect, JustEat, MakeMyTrip Explore, MapmyIndia, my airtel, PVR Cinemas, Tarla Dalal, Yahoo Cricket and Zovi.
Windows 8 comes with a new start screen that shows live colorful tiles that update in real time. Windows 8 is natively cloud-connected so you can access your data on any other Windows 8 PC. Microsoft says Windows 8 to be seamlessly synced across multiple devices. Windows 8 also comes with a new browser - Internet Explorer 10.
Asked about the launch of Microsoft's Surface tablet in India, Amrish Goyal, director, Windows Business Group, said, "The Surface tablet will be initially launched in eight countries," adding "we will launch it soon." However, he refused to share any rollout plans.
The company has not yet announced the phone version i.e., Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has an event on it Monday and may announce more details then. Nokia, HTC and Samsung have already unveiled their Windows phone 8 handsets.
Microsoft plans to continue providing technical support for Windows 7 until January 14, 2020.