How many editions will Windows 8 have? Two consumer versions for x86/64 machines, one OEM-only version (for ARM processors), and one “specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements.” Oh, and by the way, here’s my favorite quote from Brandon LeBlanc’s April 16, 2012, post to Blogging Windows entitled “Announcing the Windows 8 Editions:”
Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows.
I’m glad the common name for the new OS has finally been adopted as its real name as well. That said, here’s a run-down of the Editions presented or noted in LeBlanc’s post:
- x86/64 versions are to be called Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. What distinguishes these two versions? Windows 8 Pro will provide features for encryption, virtualization, PC management, and domain connectivity, all of which will apparently be left out of plain-vanilla Windows 8.
- The ARM version will be known as Windows RT (previously known as Windows on Arm or WOA), and as stated before, will only be provided pre-installed on PCs and tablets built around ARM processors, designed to run on thin and light devices “with impressive battery life.” And yes, this edition does include “touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.”
- The Windows 8 Enterprise edition takes Windows 8 Pro as its base, then adds “features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more.” How much more, and how security, virtualization, management and deployment differ from Windows 8 Pro is not yet clear. We’ll see, I guess…
There’s also a spiffy table in this blog post that calls out 41 distinct OS features and recites which editions support which ones. The last items in the table are particularly interesting, as they apply only to Windows 8 Pro (and thus by extension to Windows 8 Enterprise as well): BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, boot from VHD, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, Encrypting File System (EFS), Group Policy, and Remote Desktop (host). Except for boot from VHD and Client Hyper-V, not too different from Windows 7 Home editions versus Windows 7 Professional, either.