The beta version is a stage in the creation of a product – typically software -- that will be sold in the market.
In the development or creation of a product, the whole process has to undergo several stages before the said product can be deemed as ready for the market. The first stage of this process is called the alpha stage. This is where the product is tested by product/software testers internally within the company. At this point, any kind of flaws or errors are debugged or fixed.
The second stage of the process is called the beta version. At this point in the development process, the product is released either for free or at a discounted price either to a select group of users, which is called a closed beta, or to the general population – called an open beta.
The beta version of software is already seen as a preview of the final product. It will possess all of the standard features of the product and the final look or GUI, but it is still not deemed ready for commercial sale or widespread release. The beta version’s function is to put the software to a real world test because it will be installed in different environments and configurations. The company will collate all of the feedback from the users of the beta version – identifying any new bugs that will appear so it can be fixed and also to gain feedback on other aspects of the software that can either be tweaked for the final release or put into a list that will be implemented for the next version of the software.