Microsoft Windows 8 To Come In Four Editions
April 18, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8 To Come In Four Editions

Microsoft has announced in a recent blog post that its next operating system will come in four different varieties, including a tablet-version.

According to the company, Windows 8 will be offered for those who run Intel-compatible machines in two versions, either the standard version, or a "Pro" version.  Microsoft also wrote that there would be an adapted version of Windows 8 Pro for business as well.

Another version of its unreleased operating system will be available for devices like tablets that are powered by ARM-designed chips.  This version will be known as Windows RT version.

Microsoft has called the operating system, which is expected to launch in autumn 2012, the most significant redesign of the Windows interface since Windows 95.

Its new ARM version is a reflection of the company's hopes to unify machines running desktop computers with tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft said it hopes users will be integrating their televisions, computers, smartphones or tablets with each other in order to accomplish tasks through the same platform.

"People are starting to see the same look-and-feel across the three screens and the cloud," Craig Beilinson, director of Microsoft's consumer marketing, told CNN. "This is all going to get pretty blurry."

A preview version of Windows 8 launched a year ago, and since then over 100,000 changes have been made to the developer version.

Microsoft took away its trademark Windows "Start" button, and replaced it with a sliding panel-based menu.

The new operating system will feature touchscreen integration and the interactive title-based "Metro" user interface, which debuted in 2010 for Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft is bringing its cloud-based services like Windows Live, SkyDrive and Bing into all of its consumer products.  So if a user signs into any of their devices, they will have access to these cloud services.

Microsoft will be facing an uphill battle with its tablet software, because both Google and Apple dominate the market.

Generally, developers build apps for Apple, first-and-foremost, and later build their app on a platform for Android as well.  However, most developers do not see a benefit to building applications for Microsoft because the consumer market is smaller.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that Microsoft is paying developers to create new apps for its operating system.

Developers do not normally get paid to build their applications for smartphone platforms, but Microsoft has been hiring out companies like Foursquare to make a version of their popular app for its devices.

“We have very limited resources, and we have to put them toward the platforms with the biggest bang for our buck,” Holger Luedorf, Foursquare´s head of business development, told the Times. “But we are a social network and it is incredibly important for us to be available on every platform.”

Microsoft said in the blog post that it plans to share more information about the upcoming operating system in the coming months.