Two months after the Consumer Preview, and seven months after the Developer Preview, Microsoft is getting ready to release a third preview build of Windows 8. It's called the Windows 8 Release Preview, and according to the official Building Windows 8 Twitter feed, it's coming in early June. Here's the tweet and the accompanying photo of Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky delivering the announcement:
Announce...Windows 8 Release Preview first week of June. Here's the announce from Japan's Windows 8 Dev Days #thankyou http://pic.twitter.com/ndRmXzJK
Microsoft doesn't say exactly what the Release Preview will consist of, but the name suggests it may represent Windows 8 in something close to its final, production-ready form. The timing of the release lends weight to that hypothesis, too. Microsoft made the first Windows 7 release candidate publicly available in May 2009; the operating system was then released to manufacturing in late July, and it hit stores in late October. If Windows 8 is due in time for the holidays, as the rumor mill has consistently hinted, then it may follow a similar progression.