Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 will become available in three different flavors, tailoring for desktop and laptop-based Intel machines and ARM-powered tablets.
In a blog post earlier today, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc confirmed that the Intel-compatible x86 machines (both 32-bit and 64-bit) will be known simply as Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, with the latter adding onto traditional Windows features with encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be another additional extra if required.
For those devices, largely tablets, powered by ARM-designed chips, there will be a version called Windows RT, which will offer touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
The move is not unique in Microsoft’s history, having launched Basic, Home, Premium and Ultimate collections on past operating systems, and is largely seen as a move by the software giant to improve the marketing of each product.
Microsoft announced the new flavors on its Windows blog (which also breaks down the features of all three OS flavors in a grid format), but the names didn’t exactly inspire a splurge of good comments from Windows fans, who deemed Microsoft RT to be 'ugly', 'awful' and confusing.
Microsoft launched the first preview version of Windows 8 late last year, but made more than 100,000 changes to it before pushing out the Consumer Preview version at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress in February. One of these changes has been controversial in some far as the firm has removed the traditional Windows “Start” bar.
The new OS is expected to debut later this year, with the likes of Asus, HP, Lenovo and even Nokia reported to be looking at pushing out Windows 8 tablets before the end of the year.