Microsoft has finally shed some light on the different versions of Windows 8 we’ll see upon release, and thankfully, things are much simpler than past versions.
This time around, there are only three flavors: Windows 8, the version geared towards most consumers; Windows 8 Pro, for enterprise and enthusiast users; and Windows RT, which is the new name for Windows on low-power ARM processors (previously called WOA).
Notably, Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-powered devices like tablets and ultraportable laptops, so you’ll only have to worry about the other two versions of Windows 8 when deciding to upgrade your current computer. Gone are the days of Basic, pro, Ultimate, and Media Center versions of Windows. (For Media Center fans, Microsoft says it will be available as an “economical add-on pack” for Windows 8 Pro.)
The standard version of Windows 8 will include all of the great features we’ve already seen in the OS, including the new tablet-friendly Metro interface, updated Windows Explorer, and support for new Metro apps. Windows 8 Pro will add encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connection features, according Windows Communication Manager Brandon LeBlanc.
As we’ve covered previously, Windows RT will include touch-optimized Office apps. Explaining the Windows RT name, LeBlanc said the focus of the OS is on the new Windows runtime, which “forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds.”
Below, check out a comparison chart between the three versions of Windows 8.
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