Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT →∞ Tue, 17 Apr 2012 · Comments
I like the differentiation between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. It’s easy – normal people will just have Windows 8, while professionals and power users get Windows 8 Pro. Basically, Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium have been folded into Windows 8, and Professional and Ultimate into Windows 8 Pro. Makes sense.
Technically, there are two more versions – additional “local language-only” editions for China and a few other emerging markets (similar to Windows 7 Starter, I guess) and an Enterprise edition that is essentially the same as Pro, just as in Windows 7 – but most consumers won’t ever hear about them anyway.
By the way, this is really awesome (emphasis mine):
It [Windows 8, the normal version] will include [...] the ability to switch languages on the fly (more details on this feature can be found in this blog post), which was previously only available in Enterprise/Ultimate editions of Windows.
Being a German-born Chinese (or German with Chinese roots, whatever), this is a welcome addition. Changing languages really isn’t a power-user specific feature, and the whole implementation in Windows 7 Ultimate felt more like an afterthought to create an artificial selling point (all language packs were permanently shown on the Windows Update page, for example).
Still, the Windows RT branding for the ARM version is confusing. WinRT stands for Windows Runtime, which is the new API for Metro-style apps, so Windows RT stands for… Windows Runtime as well?
I think what Paul O’Brien suggested on Twitter is really smart. Keep the “Windows 8″ name in front, and then name the various versions Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Tablet, and Windows 8 Phone. The last one would also solve an issue with the current Windows Phone branding, in that many people refer to it as “Windows” instead of “Windows Phone”, as it becomes pretty awkward when you want to say “it’s a Windows Phone 7 phone”. Maybe this doesn’t make sense with Windows 7 – Windows Phone 7 is just too different from its desktop brethren to call it “Windows 7 Phone” – but with Windows 8 adopting Metro, “Windows 8 Phone” seems completely natural to me.