Microsoft reveals Windows 8 editions

17 Apr 2012

Microsoft has announced details of what will be available for Windows 8 when it is released to the market. Plus, Windows on ARM will now be officially called Windows RT.

Windows 8, which is reportedly going to launch this October, marks an ambitious new redesign of Microsoft’s operating system that’s targeting both PCs and tablets. It features live tile icons, touch-first browsing and full-screen apps.

In a blog post, Microsoft said Windows 8 would be the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows.

The company said that for PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), there will be two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

Window 8 will feature an updated Windows Explorer and Task manager, along with “better multi-monitor support” and apparently the capacity to “switch languages on the fly”, the company said.

“For China and a small set of select emerging markets, we will offer a local language-only edition of Windows 8,” confirmed Microsoft.

Windows 8 Pro

As for Windows 8 Pro, Microsoft said it had been designed to “help tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies”.

It said Windows 8 Pro will host all the features in Windows 8, as well as features for encryption, virtualisation, PC management and domain connectivity.

Windows RT

But what about Windows RT? As the latest edition to the Windows portfolio, Microsoft had previously referred to it as Windows on ARM or WOA.

The company confirmed this single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors.

With RT, Microsoft indicated it is aiming to enable new thin and lightweight form factors with “impressive” battery life.

It said Windows RT would include touch-optimised desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

“For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which we unveiled in September and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds,” added Microsoft.

It said it would be sharing pricing information in the coming months.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic