For folks who closely follow Microsoft these days, they will know that one of the biggest things that is coming out of the software giant is Windows 8. This latest version of Windows is big step for Microsoft as it is a complete re-imagination of the operating system that people know and love. After releasing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview about two months ago, Microsoft just announced the final editions of Windows 8 which will become available later this year.
For average consumers, there are three versions of Windows 8 that you should take note of - Windows 8, Windows Pro and Windows RT. Windows 8 will be the bare bones of the new operating system experience, so this edition should fit the bill of most consumers' needs. Take it as the Home Basic or Home Premium which are offered for past Windows versions. It will include the most basic features like an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, Windows Store access, better multi-monitor support and so on.
Windows 8 Pro is the edition that will offer more features that should meet the needs of enthusiasts and business/technical professionals. Apart from the bells and whistles of the standard Windows 8 package, expect to encounter more advanced features like virtualization, encryption, domain connectivity and PC management. One can also add Windows Media Center as an add-on for Windows 8 Pro.
And lastly, we have Windows RT (a rather strange choice for a name, I must say), also known as Windows on ARM or WOA. This will come pre-installed on PCs and tablets that are powered by ARM processors. Windows RT will come pre-packaged with the touch-optimized versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
It is interesting that Microsoft went with such a simple naming scheme with Windows 8, although Windows RT can potentially cause some customer confusion. Check out the chart below as it breaks down the key features of all the editions of Windows 8.