Microsoft has begun to distribute early copies of Windows 8 to its key manufacturing partners – according to a respected Windows site.

The next generation operating system from Microsoft is hoping to build on the critical and public acclaim around Windows 7 and continue the company's recent progress.

Winrumours.com suggests that build 7971.0.110324-1900 of Windows 8 is now being sent out through the company's Connect testing system, but only to key OEMs.

Feature set

There is already plenty of information circulating about the next Windows, including the likelihood that it will bring a polished gaming component and a system reset function.

There will also, it is expected, be support for 3D and expect the touch capability to be heavily ramped up.

The news that the build is now with OEMs suggests that, whatever Windows 8 brings, it is not that far away from making a more public appearance.

Via winrumours