More Windows, Less Confusion
On April 16th, Microsoft announced the final Windows 8 lineup on the official Microsoft Blog.
Unlike its Windows 7 predecessor with a dizzying array of variations Windows 8 has only three. Windows 8 will offer two versions for the x86/64 platform (Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro) and one for the ARM platform (Windows RT.)
Let's start with the cheap seats aka "Windows 8." Note the lack of adjectives in this version. It's designed to fill the role of Windows 7's Starter (whatever that is), Home Basic and Home Deluxe versions on both 32 and 64 bit PC hardware platforms. Now you can rest easy knowing that even the most basic version of Windows includes support for 64 Bit processors.
Next up is the version most likely to show up on your work PC in the next few years, "Windows 8 Pro." This one's pretty simple since it equates to Windows 7 Professional and the rarely seen Windows 7 Enterprise - N.
If you've never seen Enterprise-N it's most likely because this version is only available via Microsoft's Volume licensing. it's basically Windows 7 Pro without any fun stuff like media player. The professional versions are meant for enterprise networks and the only versions of Windows 7 other than "Ultimate and Pro" that can join a Windows domain.
Finally we get to the questionably acronymed WOA (Windows on ARM) version of Windows 8 called "Windows RT" This version of windows is meant for tablet devices and ARM PC's. Don't go looking to pick it up for your $99 closeout tablet though as its only available pre-installed on a new device. If you haven't guessed already, this version of Windows is aimed squarely at Apple's IOS and the IPAD.
There really isn't any version of Windows 7 that equates with RT. Windows Phone 7 may be close but is more of an interface than an OS. Windows 8 tile interface is a direct descendant of Windows phone but that's where the similarity ends. A Specialized version of Microsoft Office optimized for touch will be included with this release.Continued on the next page