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What's new in the Windows 8 Release Preview (pictures)

The penultimate major update to Windows 8 gets some things very right, but others lag behind. Take a tour of what's new and what's changed in Microsoft's biggest Hail Mary ever.

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Seth Rosenblatt
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
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1 of 6 Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

New default apps to Start

The Start screen doesn't look like it's changed much, but there are three new default apps that show off the possibilities of Windows 8: Travel, News, and Sports.
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2 of 6 Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Flash (almost) comes to Metro IE

Microsoft recently has promised that Adobe's Flash plug-in will work in Internet Explorer 10 Metro by the time Windows 8 is finished, but it wasn't ready when we used it.
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3 of 6 Josh Miller/CNET

Pinch-to-zoom and other touchpad improvements

Windows 8 Release Preview comes with protoype trackpad drivers to allow people to use multitouch gestures on their trackpads. It's a big, long-overdue step forward for Windows.
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4 of 6 Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET
In the new Sports app, semantic zoom powers different layers of content. Zoom out from the main view of your favorite teams to see different categories you can then zoom back in on.
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5 of 6 Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Good-bye Aero, hello...?

We know that Microsoft plans on ditching the translucent Aero borders for Windows 8 Desktop mode, but that hasn't happened yet. The company hasn't said what will replace it, yet.
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6 of 6 Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Mail, Calendar, and Snap improvements

Splitting the screen for working in two apps at once isn't new to Windows 8 Release Preview, but it works much better than before. You can also see the new Mail app layout here.

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