First, there will be two editions for the x86 processor desktops and notebooks. There will be Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro which will come in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. Essentially ‘Windows 8′ replaces the ‘Home Premium’ brand that Microsoft aims at home users, while ‘Windows8 Pro’ replaces the ‘Ultimate’ and ‘Business‘ brands aimed at enterprise users and high-end home users. Windows 8 Pro will come with the following premium features:
- BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
- Boot from VHD
- Client Hyper-V
- Domain Join
- Encrypting File System
- Group Policy
- Remote Desktop (host)
Users who want Windows Media Center will have to buy a ‘media pack’ add-on for Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft says this will be priced ‘economically.’ This means that home user who wants media center functionality will be nudged to the more expensive ‘Pro’ edition of Windows 8.
Microsoft has also renamed the Windows on ARM (also known casino as WOA) edition. The new name for this will be Windows RT (note that there are no ’8′ in this branding, possibly suggesting that this platform may develop into its own brand separate to the x86 platform). This version will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors (in other words, you will not be able to buy this version as a standalone product.
This move dramatically simplifies the lineup of Windows editions and takes us back to the days of Windows XP where there were two editions – ‘Home Edition’ and ‘Professional.’