Windows 8 to come in only three editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT

Pigs are flying in Redmond today following the announcement that Windows 8 will only have three SKUS: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT (known as Windows on ARM). That’s right, Microsoft has finally decided to streamline it’s previously stupid offering and go straight to the point after many years of complains from users, OEMs and various other actors in the tech industry.
Windows 8 will be the basic version will include most of the essential features that 90% of the users will need while Windows 8 Pro will include all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Surprisingly Windows Media Center will apparently only be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro.

Windows RT formerly known as Windows On ARM will only be come per-installed on devices/tablets equipped with ARM based SoC but will be the only Windows 8 SKU to have the Office suite included. This version will only be able to run applications build using the recently introduced WinRT runtime. Hit the break for the full list of features supported by each versions:

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

source: Microsoft

  • Anonymous

    Let’s say “Finally!”. On another note, I think “Windows RT” is a bad name. There APIs for metro style apps are also called “WinRT” (“Win” obviously standing for “Windows”) and this might cause confusion.