Until now, it seemed like Microsoft was gearing up to unveil the almost-final Windows 8 Release Preview in the first full week of June, just in time for what is sure to be the world’s premier Ultrabook trade show. As it turned out, though, the folks in Redmond couldn’t contain their jubilation any longer: the company is now rolling out the Release Preview several days ahead of schedule. The update, free to anyone who wants to try it, offers a few notable enhancements, including a trio of new apps, a “Flip ahead” browser gesture, Flash support and a couple of updated multi-monitor features. A few heavy hitters like Wikipedia and Box.net are also using the occasion to debut apps in the Windows Store. And the OS is now available in 13 languages. Mostly, though, this update brings performance and stability fixes, along with granular tweaks like being able to pin stocks to the Start screen. Certainly, a two-hour press conference was not necessary this time around.
Ready to upgrade from the Consumer Preview? Just remember that you’ll need to a do a clean install, which means unless your user account is tied to a Microsoft ID you’re going to lose your personal settings. Got it? Good. Get your download on now, and then meet us past the break for some early impressions and a video walk-through of the new features.