Microsoft today announced flavors of Windows 8 versions on Windows blog. Windows 8 becomes the official name for the next version of Windows. Windows 8 will come in three flavors Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT, which is previously known as Windows on ARM or WOA.
If you have used Windows XP you know it comes in two editions Windows XP and Pro. Windows Vista and 7 came in several flavors which caused confusion among users. Now Microsoft has reversed its strategy and announced only two editions 8 and Pro like XP.
Brandon LeBlanc from Microsoft writes that “All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience” and Windows is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows. Windows 8 will have an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly, which is earlier available only in Enterprise/Ultimate editions. The last one is a welcome addition, as it is pain to get language packs for Vista and 7 versions of Windows home premium.
Windows 8 Pro is for tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals, it will have all the features of Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity.
Windows 8 media center is know available as “media pack” add-on for Windows 8 Pro users.
Windows RT is for tablets running ARM processors, it will come pre-installed with PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors. Windows RT will include touch optimized versions of Office desktop apps including, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
There is also a version of Windows 8 for enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements that will include all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios and more according to Microsoft.
See the below table for the list of features in each version of Windows 8.
|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|
|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|
|Installation of x86/64 and desktop software||x||x|
|Updated Windows Explorer||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|
|Windows Media Player||x||x|
|ISO / VHD mount||x||x||x|
|Mobile broadband features||x||x||x|
|Remote Desktop (client)||x||x||x|
|Reset and refresh your PC||x||x||x|
|Touch and Thumb keyboard||x||x||x|
|BitLocker and BitLocker To Go||x|
|Boot from VHD||x|
|Encrypting File System||x|
|Remote Desktop (host)||x|