Posted on April 30, 2012 by admin

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windows 8 softwareChanging operating system (OS) versions always involves some risk in the business world, especially if employees have trouble adjusting to a new user interface (UI). Also, if an old version of a much-used program needs to be updated, the expense can be considerable for businesses. But what about in the case of the upcoming Windows 8 everyone is talking about?

Compatibility Issues

Windows consumers expect, when an OS is upgraded, that their previously purchased software will continue to be compatible with the new OS. For the desktop version of Windows 8, this will hold true. When it comes to the increasingly popular world of tablets, however, the situation gets a bit murky.

With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft will also start issuing two different types of mobile devices – Windows on ARM (WOA) and Windows x86/64 (Intel-based). Legacy Microsoft software will be compatible with Windows x86/64, and users will also have access to the new UI offered by Windows 8, as well as many of the applications in the Windows Store.

WOA, however, is a different ballpark. It will only run applications for the Metro system, so choices will be somewhat limited compared to the desktop version and the Intel tablet version. Office 15 will be available for the system, however, and there will be a great many different apps for Metro in the Windows Store.

Changes

There are plenty of changes in store for business and personal users once the Windows 8 OS hits the market. This OS is designed with the type of aesthetic that you’ll be used to seeing in mobile applications. Even if your old programs work with the OS, you’ll be using them in an entirely different way.

If you have a tablet device, you cannot purchase Windows 8 RT for that device separately. The manufacturer will have installed Windows 8 RT on the device for you. If you want to get more out of your Windows experience, running your old software will be an option on your desktop but not on mobile ARM devices. The Windows Store will become vital for these Windows 8 users. In many ways, acquiring, downloading, and using software is likely to be more akin to doing so on a mobile device than it is to the experience that people will be accustomed to having on desktop computers.

Why ARM over Intel? How to tell the difference?

If you don’t already use a ton of Windows-based software or don’t mind switching to a newer version of Office, it obviously won’t matter which option you choose, and ARM tablets are supposedly geared towards increased mobility (via longer battery life). If you are currently running expensive, Windows-based software, however, you should probably avoid the ARM tablets. This especially holds true for businesses as opposed to consumers; for most businesses, buying brand new, compatible software for all employees could get pricey.

As for determining the difference so you don’t accidentally end up with the wrong tablet – according to an article by Brooke Crothers with CNET, Microsoft’s Steve Sinofsky wrote, “We do want to assure you that, when a consumer buys a WOA (Windows on ARM) PC, it will be clearly labeled and branded so as to avoid potential confusion with Windows 8 on x86/64.”

What do you think? Will this new model for mobile devices hurt or help Windows 8? Will consumers and businesses get confused by the array of options available? Do you plan to buy an ARM device or an Intel-based one?