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Windows 8 to carry just three versions, ARM badged as RT

updated 08:10 pm EDT, Mon April 16, 2012

Windows 8 sheds complex naming scheme

Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc detailed the Windows 8 version lineup in a sign the company may sincerely back away from previous complexity. Apart from confirming Windows 8 as the official name, the official showed that there would be just two x86-based versions, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. The Pro version would add business-focused features like BitLocker drive encryption, virtualization support, and support for domains, group policies, and hosting remote desktops.

Pro users can add an "economical" Windows Media Center pack to their version if they want an all-encompassing desktop release.

The ARM version would be its own separate edition, Microsoft said. Now called Windows RT, it would have the included copy of Office 15 and most of the Metro-based features of the x86 build, adding device-level encryption. As mentioned, however, it would not only drop support for third-party desktop apps but shed Storage Spaces and Windows Media Player, the latter of which is effectively replaced with a local music app.

Microsoft's strategy forks ARM devices off into a separate track, showing them as devices more explicitly meant to compete against the iPad and Android tablets, but also shows an attempt to simplify the desktop version after years of complexity. Although it publicly claimed simplicity, Microsoft has had as many as six or seven versions of Windows on the market at any one time, often with only slight variants on each. Some of the reduced complexity has come from lessons learned after Windows 7, where Microsoft now has an interface that doesn't have to be stripped down to run on low-end PCs.

The new model is closer to Apple's, where one version covers nearly all users and a second version exists only to accommodate those in a business context.

Microsoft is still refraining from mentioning pricing and release dates, but it's expected to release the software in or near October for prices similar to those for Windows 7. Special promotions will run at the same time, the company said.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chas_m



    And the RT stands for ...

    Related Tech?

    Re Tarded?

    Resell to Twerps?

    Windows "R" Tablets?

    Real Time?

    Really Tablet-y?

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What about this:

    Finish aping iOS for their tablets and mobile stuff,
    And leave the desktop the way it was before they "fisherpriced" it.

    Get back to using icons instead of making users read a long line of text that looks like a link but actually is not, keep a consistent ordering of icons between folders, unlike the current "control panel" folder, where icons are ordered horizontally yet in columns that change constantly depending on the shape of the window...

    On the other hand, the sooner it fails the sooner Linux will kill it on the desktop...

  1. facebook_Rimsha

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2012


    windows 8

    windows 8 in four versions

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not here

    There's no way that we'll deploy this bundle of festering pus to university-owned computers.

  1. facebook_Sam

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2012



    I'm a Windows PC user, and I'm not looking forward to Windows 8. Besides tablet functionality, what necessary changes does it bring that would convince me to upgrade?

    The tablet interface looks ugly, clunky, and confusing, and I can't think of a single reason I'd buy one of these over an iPad (though I'd buy it over most Android tablets I've tried, since those have been extremely user unfriendly).

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Metro?

    As Nokia has found out, in recent reports of European sales for their Windows phone, the "Windows" brand name is damaged. People don't think of "Windows" as being technologically sophisticated. They think of it as that monstrous OS that is on their crappy desktop machines. They think of it as a nest of viruses and malware. They think o it as being overly complex and out of touch. Now with Windows RT for the ARM product, Microsoft has banished its tablets from the cool factor. Windows RT sounds too much like Windows XT or even worse, Windows CE.

    There is also a question of Microsoft's "One OS to rule them all" strategy. Windows RT will not be desktop Windows. It will not even have the same standard programs from Microsoft that the desktop has. There is a very good chance that the 3rd party programs used by the two platforms will be different. In short, Windows 8 doesn't look so much as a grand strategy was much of the Windows group to keep their thumb upon anything at Microsoft that could threaten them.

    Windows ARM should have been called MetroOS which would have marked it as new and exciting. Windows 8 should not have bothered to port the Metro interface. It resembles too much of the old Unix GUIs that merely fronted for the old command line. It doesn't feel like part of the system, and as users will have to switch between the Metro and Areo interfaces, it will become a pain. Besides, it simply doesn't work on the desktop.

    This doesn't mean that Microsoft shouldn't have unified the foundation of the two. Nor does it mean that there cannot be any "cross pollination" between the two platforms. What Microsoft cannot do is simply pretend they're all one operating system. Office looks bad on tablets because it doesn't look like it belongs there. Metro on the desktop has too many quirks, and will look more like an add-on shell rather than an intrinsic part of the OS.

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