In the run-up to the launch of Windows 8 later this year, Microsoft has announced an upgrade program that will allow buyers of Windows 7 PCs to upgrade to Windows 8 for S$17.99. The offer is available in over 130 countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.
To qualify for the offer, you must purchase a “qualified” Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013. The last day to register and order your Windows 8 upgrade is February 28 next year. According to Microsoft, a qualified PC must have a valid Windows 7 OEM Certificate of Authenticity and product key.
Under the program, Windows 7 users will get a downloadable version of Windows 8 Pro, which can be used to create installation discs. An optional installation DVD is also available for an “additional fee”, plus shipping and any applicable taxes or duties.
The program marks the first time Microsoft is letting buyers of PCs preinstalled with current Windows editions upgrade to a higher-level version of an upcoming Windows OS. In earlier programs for Windows Vista and Windows 7, you could only upgrade a PC from, say, Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium.
With only two retail versions of Windows 8 – Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 – Microsoft is cutting the number of Windows editions available to consumers. Windows 8 will also come in a RT flavor targeted at tablets and mobile devices powered by ARM-based microprocessors made by Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. Tablet makers such as Asus, Acer and Toshiba are expected to show off tablets sporting Windows 8 RT at the Computex show in Taiwan this week.
Up till now, there is no word on a Windows 8 launch date, though the OS is widely expected to hit the shelves before the year-end holidays. Just last week, Microsoft released its third pre-release version before the software is shipped to PC manufacturers. This final test version is more polished than its predecessors with new Sports, Travel and News apps that take advantage of the tile-based Metro interface, as well as a revamped Windows Store.