Microsoft dropped a bomb on the world yesterday by announcing that there will only be three editions of Windows 8 available for sale later this year (well, four if you count Enterprise): Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT.
What is RT? The official (confusing) former name of Windows On ARM, the edition that will end up powering (hopefully) millions of tablets from Lenovo, HP and, hopefully, Android mainstays like Asus and Acer.
In addition to have a “no-compromise” approach, Windows RT will be bundled with a special touch-friendly edition of Office 15. We just told you about an iPad app called CloudOn that aims to compete in this same space, by allowing access to a full Office suite; Windows RT aims to do it one better by having native support. According to the blog post, “for new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which we unveiled in September and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds.”
The potential for Windows RT is huge: if the experience is good enough for users to migrate back to Microsoft from Apple, it will be the first true competition for the iPad on the market. The question of apps — existing x86 apps won’t work on WinRT — is a similar quandary to that of Windows Phone. We’ll just have to wait and see.