Microsoft has made dramatic changes to the Windows operating system with its upcoming Windows 8 platform; it seems one change includes re-branding its editions. Simply put, Microsoft has decided to ditch its old branding (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.) and condense them. The company is introducing three main editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT -- but only two of these will be available as upgrades from Windows 7.
The edition known as just Windows 8 condenses what was Home Premium and Home Basic previously. A notable change however is the addition of Language Packs, which were available exclusively on Enterprise/Ultimate editions in the past. The Windows 8 edition will be available as an upgrade from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium.
Windows 8 Pro contains functionality you would find in what was Professional and Ultimate editions in the past. Exclusive features include Bitlocker, VHD Boot, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, File Encryption, Group Policy, and Remote Desktop (host). The new “Windows 8 Pro” also comes with an available Windows Media Center add-on. This edition is upgradeable from Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate editions.
Perhaps the most interesting edition is Windows RT, which comes preloaded on devices running ARM processors and will not be available as an upgrade. Windows RT includes a bundled, touch-optimized desktop version of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. This edition is designed to offer the fullest experience of Windows 8 on x86 processors, on devices with ARM chipsets.
Microsoft also made note of a Windows 8 Enterprise edition, which expands upon the Windows 8 Pro edition by including features for PC management, security, and more.
According to the blog post, we can expect pricing details and promotions in the coming months.
|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|
|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|