Windows 8 is likely to be unveiled later this year and, as a sign of things to come, Microsoft has just announced the official editions of Windows 7's successor. There will be three all in all (although we don't scrap the possibility of others being added on later), each one designed for a specific platform (or device type) while offering a host of features that will be part of the all-new Windows experience.
As we've repeatedly said before, Windows 8 will be optimized for use on both desktops and touch-centric devices like tablets. Fact is, you'll be able to switch seamlessly from a more traditional desktop mode to the touchscreen UI, possibly increasing the compatibility with a wider range of devices. Anyway, here are the 3 new editions and a brief description of each.
According to the Windows Team Blog, Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows and is aimed at desktops and tablets powered by x86 chips. It will have an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support, as well as the ability to change language settings quickly.
Windows 8 Pro
Also for x86 devices, Windows 8 Pro will include the main features of Windows 8 plus more features and is designed basically towards the more tech-savvy crowd. It will have advanced options for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. We're also told that Windows 8 Pro is also fit for business users which means it could also have more enterprise-level tools.
Deemed as the newcomer of the bunch (it was previously rumored that there will be only 2 editions), Windows RT is made for devices running on ARM chips and will only be available as a packaged pre-installed OS on PCs and tablets. It's also said to help to usher in more thin and light devices with longer battery life. Windows RT will come with touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
We've already been able to get a glimpse of its hardware requirements and even had a go at downloading the Consumer Preview. This latest announcement should give us a better idea of how Microsoft will be marketing and deploying Windows 8 on different devices. As D-Day nears, we're looking at more significant reveals to come our way. Stay tuned.