As it promised, Microsoft has today made Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of its next operating system release, available to download.

At an event in Barcelona, timed to coincide with the ongoing Mobile World Congress, Microsoft is demoing the new OS, which features both a traditional Windows interface and the more tablet-focused, Windows Phone 7-inspired ‘Metro’ interface.

The operating system was unveiled at last September’s BUILD conference and after months leaks and other snippets of news dripping out, we can finally get our hands on the actual, working OS in its near-final form.

Read our liveblog from today’s event for all the details of what you can find within the Preview, ahead of the full commercial release later in the year.

Ready to dive in and try Windows 8? You can download it here, or the ISO images here.