Tech enthusiasts queued for hours last night on Tottenham Court Road to become the first UK punters get their paws on Microsoft's Windows 8.
Microsoft officially launched its new operating system, which Windows boss Steven Sinofsky labelled "the best release of Windows ever", in New York last night.
More than 1,000 certified PCs and tablets, including Microsoft's own Surface device – which was also launched last night – were available for the launch.
In the UK, Currys and PC World bagged the rights to sell Windows 8 machines first through an exclusive midnight opening on Tottenham Court Road at 00:01 last night.
The retailer was offering deals on four Windows 8 HP laptops and giving away a free pair of Beats Solo headphones to the first 300 customers to buy a Windows 8 HP product.
It furnished punters with hot beverages, doughnuts and sausage rolls, as well as entertainment from US magician Daniel White. Queuing customers could also experience Windows 8 via a 60in interactive touchscreen installed in the store window.
At retail, Windows 8 is available in two primary versions – Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro – as well as Windows 8 for large organisations. Microsoft also lifted the covers off Windows RT, a new member of the Windows family designed for ARM-based tablets.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said: "We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning line-up of new PCs.
"Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet. It works perfectly for work and play and it is alive with your world. Every one of our customers will find a PC that they will absolutely love."
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