Windows 8 is inching closer to release with the introduction of different previews over the last few months. As covered in our previous article, the Windows 8 Developer Preview looked promising and the Consumer Preview more so. Microsoft’s usual Alpha, Beta then RC (Release Candidate) strategy for release has been pretty much followed this time around too. The Developer Preview was the Alpha version, the Consumer Preview was the Beta version and finally, the recently announced Release Preview will be close to what was Release Candidate for Windows 7 development.
The Release Preview of Windows 8, due for launch in the first week of June will be quite close to what final retail Windows 8 editions will be. This latest and possibly last “preview” of Windows 8 will incorporate changes from the last 2 previews and will fix most bugs and kinks. After listening to public and developer feedback, Microsoft has made changes to its upcoming operating system and promises better performance and user friendliness. The changes in the Release Preview are not very apparent to the eye, but there are quite a few. Slight UI changes have been made as well and they will probably be the most noticeable differences.
Windows 8 Editions Revealed:
Windows 8 is scheduled to release officially by the end of October, which means a RTM (Release to Manufacturer) version will be available to developers and subscribers of MSDN and Technet roughly a month or so earlier. RTM will basically be the retail version, just made available to developers sooner than us poor consumers. This is basically saying that Windows 8 will be out by October since the pirates of the high seas…er webs will make sure all RTM versions are plastered over every file sharing network there is.
Anyway, announcement of the Windows 8 Release Preview was followed closely by the announcement of how many Windows 8 Editions will be available. Unlike previous Windows versions that had more editions than people have teeth, Windows 8 is opting for a simpler path. Instead of the Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium so on and so forth, the number of Windows 8 Editions will be just 4, out of which only 2 will be actually available for retail purchase. The Windows 8 Editions are are follows:
1. Windows 8
2. Windows 8 Pro
3. Windows 8 Enterprise
4. Windows 8 RT (RunTime)
Windows 8 will contain all the cool new features we’ve seen previously, the new UI, new taskbar, new Windows Explorer, better performance and power efficiency and lots more. So basically Windows 8 is going to be the main edition that will be seen in most homes. It’s pretty much analogous to the previous “Home Premium” edition. The average user will be more than satisfied with the edition simply labeled Windows 8.
Windows 8 Pro will contain all the features from the Windows 8 edition and more for professionals and power users such as virtual desktop, bitlocker, group policy management, remote desktop etc. But, the most important point to note here is that Windows 8 Pro is the only edition that can be upgraded from Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.
Windows 8 Enterprise will be available only to corporations and companies. It will include all of Windows 8 Pro’s feature set plus much more for software professionals such as advanced security, network protocols, advanced virtualization and much more.
Last but one of the most interesting editions will be Windows 8 RT, which stands for “RunTime”. This edition will be only available to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) who make mobile computer solutions such as tablet PC’s. Since Windows 8 will be the first Windows to support the ARM architecture, Windows 8 RT will be optimized for mobile applications, touch based UIs and will feature touch-optimized applications and programs. Special versions of Microsoft Office will come bundled with Windows 8 RT, but it will not come with Windows Media Player.
A tabular comparison of the features in each edition is given below:
That’s all we know for now, stay tuned to CoolPCTips for all the information about Windows 8 Editions and do drop us a line telling us what you think!