Latest Windows 8 shows promise if hardware and apps can keep up (hands on)

The Windows 8 Release Preview shows off a fast, well-oiled operating system that's innovative but easy to learn. Too bad its apps aren't up to snuff.

Windows 8. It sounds so innocent.

Windows 8 almost ready to serve

The name of Microsoft's coming operating system implies just another version of an OS once much loved and now much maligned. But Windows 8 means much more to Microsoft: It's a bold attempt to build an Apple-proof operating system, to unify devices that have so far been separate, and to reclaim its right to envision the future of computers.

For Microsoft to succeed with Windows on all platforms, Windows 8 has to work. The changes in today's Release Preview take a step in the right direction, tightening up the operating system and introducing new apps to showcase just what Windows 8 can do. But Microsoft isn't there yet. This is more "beta two" than "release candidate."

Read CNET's full First Take on the Windows 8 Release Preview to see what works so far and what must be improved before the general release later this year.

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