Windows 8 and Windows RT: what's the difference?
MANILA, Philippines - The Internet is abuzz about the launch of Microsoft’s new operating system Windows 8, happening first in Singapore on October 25, then 8 hours later in New York. Microsoft will also be launching its first tablet computer, the Surface RT, that runs a scaled down version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. But what's the difference between the two?
Taking cues from Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 is a complete departure from a decades-old user interface and a move towards a touch interface.
Known previously as Metro UI, the new Windows 8 interface works around a start screen which uses tiles with the programs you have on the computer. Updates for certain programs and status messages appear on the tiles as well. There’s also a desktop mode, allowing users to switch to the old interface for some programs as necessary. The new Windows 8 interface works using touch or mouse controls.
Windows 8 is a full operating system sold to consumers that supports software from the Windows 7, Vista, and XP versions of the OS. In other words, programs that worked on those three older OS types should work without any issues.
Windows RT, on the other hand, is a version of Windows 8 operating system that is meant for mobile devices like tablets and is not sold to consumers, but rather to manufacturers of ARM processor-powered devices.
While it operates similarly to Windows 8, one of the main differences between Windows 8 and RT is that RT doesn’t run any applications that operated on older Windows OS types. Instead, Windows RT runs software specific to itself that can be acquired through the Windows Store. Desktop mode operates specifically with new versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer made just for Windows RT.
What this currently means is that with Windows RT-based devices (specifically the upcoming Microsoft Surface RT), you’ll be limited in the number of apps you can use, which currently round the 5000 mark compared to the hundreds of thousands in Apple and Google stores.
That said, Windows 8 does happen to be a melding of the tablet culture into the culture of personal computing. Hopefully, more information regarding Windows 8 will be made available during the launch event in Singapore, which we’re also livetweeting. - Rappler.com