Windows 8 to launch in three flavours

By Chris Jager on Apr 17, 2012 1:39 PM
Filed under Software

Includes specialised ARM edition.

Microsoft has announced its flagship Windows 8 operating system will launch with three editions; Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT. 

This is in contrast to the last few Windows releases, which offered six seperate editions for different user categories. 

Tablets, desktops and laptops using Intel/AMD x86 processors will be available under the Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro brands. Windows RT will come pre-installed on ARM-powered devices

"We have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC or upgrade their existing PC," Brandon LeBlanc explained on the Windows Blog

Windows 8

As its name implies, Windows 8 is the standard edition of Microsoft's new OS and is aimed at the majority of consumers. Like all Windows 8 editions, it provides access to Windows Store and allows the user to switch between a touch screen (if you have a compatible device) and keyboard/mouse. It also includes an updated Windows ExplorerTask Managerbetter multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly (a feature that was previously only available in enterprise/ultimate editions of Windows). 

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Pro is geared towards "tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals". It comes with additional features including encryption, virtualisation, domain connectivity and PC management tools. 

Windows RT 

Confusingly also known as 'Windows on ARM' (or 'WOA'), Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors. The RT edition has been optimised to work with compact form factors with an emphasis on battery life.

"Windows RT will include touch-optimised desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote," adds LeBlanc . "For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds." 

Pricing for each edition is yet to be announced.

A more in-depth analysis of the differences between each Windows 8 edition can be seen below:

Feature name

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows RT

Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

x

x

 

Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate

 

x

 

Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles

x

x

x

Windows Store

x

x

x

Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video)

x

x

x

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)

 

 

x

Internet Explorer 10

x

x

x

Device encryption

 

 

x

Connected standby

x

x

x

Microsoft account

x

x

x

Desktop

x

x

x

Installation of x86/64 and desktop software

x

x

 

Updated Windows Explorer

x

x

x

Windows Defender

x

x

x

SmartScreen

x

x

x

Windows Update

x

x

x

Enhanced Task Manager

x

x

x

Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)

x

x

x

Better multiple monitor support

x

x

x

Storage Spaces

x

x

 

Windows Media Player

x

x

 

Exchange ActiveSync

x

x

x

File history

x

x

x

ISO / VHD mount

x

x

x

Mobile broadband features

x

x

x

Picture password

x

x

x

Play To

x

x

x

Remote Desktop (client)

x

x

x

Reset and refresh your PC

x

x

x

Snap

x

x

x

Touch and Thumb keyboard

x

x

x

Trusted boot

x

x

x

VPN client

x

x

x

BitLocker and BitLocker To Go

 

x

 

Boot from VHD

 

x

 

Client Hyper-V

 

x

 

Domain Join

 

x

 

Encrypting File System

 

x

 

Group Policy

 

x

 

Remote Desktop (host)

 

x

 

 
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