Barcelona: Microsoft is for the first time letting consumers try out its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which it hopes will be used to power a new wave of computer tablets and traditional PCs.
The test "beta" version of the revamped system was introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the planet`s largest cell phone trade show.
Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday offered it up free for download, along with free applications in a new "Windows Store."
Windows 8 doesn`t have the traditional "Start" menu and applications are spread across a mosaic of tiles in a design Microsoft calls "Metro."
The tiles, which resemble road signs, can be navigated with a finger swipe on the screen or with a keyboard and mouse.