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The Various Editions of Windows 8

When Windows 8 hits the market (unofficially) in October of this year, we’re going to be getting a few different versions of the new operating system. Whereas Apple likes to keep things neat and tidy with their one version, Microsoft usually likes to provide a few options in order to service a wider market. This time around, Windows 8 will release in three different versions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT.

Firstly, “Windows 8” is indeed the official name of Windows 8, which I guess wasn’t made clear until now. The base Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be available for PCs and tablets with x86 processors, both 32 and 64 bit. Windows 8 will be your standard operating system, and probably what most common users adopt. Windows 8 Pro, as Windows editions have generally gone in the past, will be for more technical and business oriented users, containing all of the features of the base Windows 8, but with added features for domain connectivity, encryption, PC management, and virtualization.

The third edition of Windows 8 will somewhat be the black sheep of the family. Dubbed Windows RT, this edition of Windows 8 will come preinstalled on PCs and tablets that are powered by ARM architecture, which in turn has the goal of creating thin, lightweight form factors. Windows RT will come with touch-optimized versions of venerable pieces of software, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. The “RT” stands for runtime, which will be the focus of Windows RT, and focuses on cloud and touch enabled apps, as well as web-connected apps.

Windows 8 and Pro are largely the same, except for the aforementioned security features found in Pro, whereas Windows RT comes with preinstalled software, like Microsoft Office. Though it is not a full list of differences, head on over to the Windows Team Blog to check out a chart comparing what features each version of Windows 8 has. We’ll be keeping our eyes opened until the official release date.

(via Windows Team Blog)

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