Microsoft made a blog post announcing the editions on next version of Windows, namely Windows 8. Compare to Windows 7 Editions, Windows 8 offers fewer editions with a no-compromise experience.
First, Windows 8 is the official product name for both 32bit and 64bit version of Windows.
Second, there are only 2 editions for x86 processors, again both 32 and 64 bit), Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.
The 3rd edition, namely Windows RT, is the newest member of the Windows family, previous known as Windows on ARM, or WOA. It will only be available pre-installed on PCs and Tablets powered by ARM processors. What’s interesting is that it will include a touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It’s the only edition that has Microsoft Office applications preloaded.
In a nutshell,
- Windows 8 Pro has everything, except the touch-optimized next version of Office, and device encryption capability.
- Windows 8 doesn’t have, in addition to Office and device encryption,
- BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
- Boot from VHD
- Client Hyper-V
- Domain Join
- Encrypting File System (EFS)
- Group Policy
- Remote Desktop (host)
- Windows RT doesn’t have, in adding to the list above under Windows 8,
- Storage Spaces
- Windows Media Player
In terms of upgrade path,
- Windows 8 can be upgraded from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium but cannot be upgraded directly from Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate.
- Windows 8 Pro can be upgraded from any Windows 7 editions.
- Windows RT cannot be upgraded directly from any version of Windows 7.
Microsoft suggested that for most of the consumers, Windows 8 will probably be the right choice. See the detailed comparison chart below for more information.
|Feature name||Windows 8||Windows 8 Pro||Windows RT|
|Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium|
|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|
Windows RT seems to be the answer to the tablet market but to be honest, with a native Office app, which is still on the desktop environment, I don’t see a sign of any tablet powered by this version of Windows 8 can make a dent on the hot tablet or Post-PC market.