Windows 8 General Availability (GA) October 26th Announced! - Narrator in Release Preview Optimzed for a Touch-enabled PC

October 26th, 2012! Yes! that's the General Availability (GA) of Windows 8! announced Steven Sinofsky at Microsoft's annual sales meeting.Starting Oct 26th, customers will be able to get Windows 8 - whether in upgrade or on a new PC. Microsoft also made available "Windows 8 Camp in a Box, Release Preview Edition" that includes the […]

October 26th, 2012! Yes! that's the General Availability (GA) of Windows 8! announced Steven Sinofsky at Microsoft's annual sales meeting.

Starting Oct 26th, customers will be able to get Windows 8 - whether in upgrade or on a new PC.

Microsoft also made available "Windows 8 Camp in a Box, Release Preview Edition" that includes the hands-on-labs, presentations, samples and resources from the Windows 8 camps.

The Windows 8 camps are free training events for developers ramping up on Metro style app development.

To sign-up for a Windows camp, please visit http://devcamps.ms/windows.

You can download Windows 8 Camp in a Box, Release Preview Edition Download Center.

October 26, General Availability of Windows 8

Also, in another blog post, Microsoft details some of the work they have done to improve Narrator in Windows 8 when using a touch-enabled PC.

In the post, Doug Kirschner, of Accessibility team notes, "We've made many more improvements based on your feedback--including reading out touch hints that teach you how to activate items, improving the Narrator settings UI to be easier to use with touch, and adding a new setting that makes it easier to type on the touch keyboard. While we believe Narrator is feature complete at this point, we're still fixing bugs and fine-tuning it before Windows 8 is complete."

Kirschner said, the touch features require a touch screens supporting at least four contact points. "Windows 8 certified touch hardware will universally meet this requirement, but some current Windows 7 hardware may not (see this post for more info). If you do not have a touch screen supporting four contact points, you can still run Narrator using the keyboard," adds Kirschner.

The following key areas is improved in the Release Preview:

  • "Responsiveness: We heard that Narrator on touch screens didn't feel responsive enough.
  • Gestures: Some people had difficulty with Narrator gestures, particularly some of the more complicated multi-finger gestures.
  • App exploration: Finding particular elements on the screen (e.g. finding tiles on the Start screen) could be hard for people not already familiar with the particular app or UI.
  • Web navigation: The commands available in the Consumer Preview were not extensive enough for some webpages," informs Kirschner.

Here is the video demonstrating the narrator: