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Understanding Windows 8

Gabby-airGabby-air Member UncommonPosts: 3,440

Simply put can someone tell me the differences between windows phone 8, windows rt and windows 8. I know this so far:

- Windows 8 Pro runs legacy software and will only run on intel based hardware, basically a regular desktop OS with metro UI

- WindowsRT is only for tablets with desktop mode only for IE and Office

- Windows phone 8 is again different than Windows RT but looks like it?

I was under the impression all versions were basically the same, but lacking legacy support in RT and Windows rt being exactly the same as windows phone 8 but that doesn't seem to be the case. I was hoping to dual boot windows 8 on my machine and get the surface RT version and a Lumia 920 but that was mainly due to having a consistent experience and the same windows store apps being available across all devices. So if I were to buy Angry birds on my phone, i would have it across my surface and desktop with saves all synced and what not. Much like how Apple has it with the iPhone, iPad, and macs. 


  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,130

    Windows 8 is for x86 processors (Intel, AMD, and Via), while Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 are for ARM processors (virtually everything that could plausibly go in a phone or tablet and isn't x86).  x86 and ARM are not compatible, so software written for one won't run on the other.  It is possible to write essentially the same program for both, but you should basically assume that anything that runs on Windows 7 won't run on Windows RT or Windows Phone 8.

    Windows 8 is the successor to Windows 7.  That's the one you want if you're getting a desktop or laptop.  It may or may not be what you want in a server or tablet.  It definitely isn't what you want in a cell phone.

    Windows Phone 8 is the successor to Windows Phone 7.  It actually has nothing to do with Windows 8, other than being made by Microsoft.  Microsoft owns the trademark, so they can use the Windows name to try to hope for some name recognition advantage.  It's meant for cell phones, but probably won't catch on for the same reasons that previous versions of Windows Phone didn't.

    Windows RT is meant for tablets, and intended to compete mainly with iOS and Google Android in that space.  Software isn't compatible between the various operating systems, so you can't get a Windows RT tablet and run your normal Windows 7 software on it.  I expect Windows RT to basically be dead on arrival, as unless your main purpose is wanting Microsoft Office in a tablet while wanting most other software not to run, then it doesn't have any advantage over iOS if you like Apple or Google Android if you don't like Apple.  Microsoft seems to be gunning more for Apple than Google.

    If you want Microsoft Office in a tablet and lots of other softare to also run, then you'd probably be better off getting a Windows 8 tablet rather than Windows RT.  Of course, the hardware basically isn't ready for either version yet.  For a Windows 8 tablet, you want either AMD Temash, Intel Haswell, or Intel Atom Silvermont depending on whether your priority is good graphics, good processor performance, or ultra low power.  Those are all coming next year and will be vastly better than anything available right now.

    At launch, the Windows 8 tablet options will basically be AMD Hondo (high idle power consumption means poor battery life), Intel Atom Clovertrail (warmed-over 2008 cell phone architecture means poor performance), or Intel Ivy Bridge (high idle power consumption means poor battery life, and high load power consumption means impossible to cram into a proper tablet form factor).  Temash, Haswell, and Atom Silvermont won't have any of those drawbacks.

    On the ARM side, you want Cortex A15 cores, or something equivalent like Qualcomm Krait.  Those were supposed to be out by now from a number of vendors (Nvidia Tegra 4, TI OMAP something or other, Samsung Exynos something or other, etc.), but were all delayed for a variety of reasons.  The current top-end ARM chips are basically putting a cell-phone chip in a tablet, which means you get cell-phone levels of performance.  That's all that today's tablets can deliver, so it's kind of all that people expect, but it's going to be a huge jump imperformance once Cortex A15 cores arrive.  Nvidia Tegra 4, PowerVR Series 6, and maybe others that get paired with Cortex A15 cores might bring modern graphics capabilities, too, in contrast to the really archaic stuff like OpenGL ES 2.0 that current tablets use.

    I don't know if you'll be able to port applications between Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT.  I'm guessing that you won't, but I wouldn't be shocked if you can.  Moving applications between Windows 8 and either of the others will be impossible unless separate applications are written for each and designed to play nicely with each other.  It's not going to be anything remotely like automatic compatibility as you'd get when moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

    If you move from an iPhone to an iPad or vice versa, they're running exactly the same OS.  Depending on which generation you get, they may even be running exactly the same SoC (processor, graphics, etc.).  That makes compatibility a lot easier.

  • DOGMA1138DOGMA1138 Member UncommonPosts: 476

    Windows 8 RT, and Windows Phone 8 are the oddest thing Microsoft did for a long long time.

    Windows Phone 8 dumped the old Windows CE Kernel for a new NT based Kernel but it's not from the same branch as Windows 8.

    It is also the first(For a while) Windows(Mobile) based OS to support native C and C++ code in order to make porting from IOS and Android platforms easier(Since it's much easier to port Java, and Objective C, to C/C++ than to .NET, Objective C is almost a 1 click job, and you can compile all the java classes instead of playing(or praying to) with .NET assemblies).

    Windows Phone 8 will support both ARM, and x86 processors(Atom SOC) which begs the question why Windows RT was even released.

    On top of that Microsoft is pushing native code development on the Phone platform(mostly to grab what ever Nokia/Symbian developers which are still alive or did not switch to IOS) and pushing managed code for Windows 8 RT.

    You can run the same managed code apps(currently .NET only, not sure if Oracle will ever release a JVM for Windows 8 RT) since Windows 8RT will have a fully functioning .NET framework(although <4.0/4.5 apps might not function properly).

    I would understand if Microsoft would've made Windows 8 RT to be the best enterprise mobile solution, but it does not have any MDM feature, or even normal management features that desktop versions have like the ability to join a domain, group policy, or even WMI.


  • Gabby-airGabby-air Member UncommonPosts: 3,440

    Thanks for the detailed replies, you guys never disappoint. I'm very disappointed with Microsft though, they keep touting Windows 8 as being the same experience across all three devices but it seem there really isn't any compatiability with them. The main reason I was so excited for this was exactly for that compatiability and having an eco system that is same with all my devices. Unlike right now when I'm running IOS, Android and Windows devices which is a pain to maintain. 

    Really wished Windows rt and phone 8 were the same OS atleast like android and IOS is, even that'd have really sold me on it but this segregation on each device is really bad . And like you said, RT does seem dead on arrival as I no longer see a point in buying rt instead of an actual Windows 8 tablet other than price considerations. Guess I'll see the pricing on the Pro version of the surface. 

    As for the technology, I read your last article and know that much better hardware is coming next year for tablets so I might just wait till the next generation of Surface tablets come out. Might even stick it out with my nexus instead of buying the lumia 920 too. 

    Guess for now Windows 8 will just be dual boot on my desktop until next year. 

  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,254

    I think the reason that they can tout it as the same experience is because the output/input is similar.  The guts(implementation) are different.  So lets say you are working on a Word Doc and use SkyDrive.  On Windows 8 you can work on your desktop, save a copy to the skydrive.  Access it on your phone or rt tablet, and have no difference in what is seen.  Then save it and reaccess it on the desktop.  The code my be different, but the result is the same on products supported by Microsoft.


    I think the thing developers will hate is being Windows 8 certified to be seen on the store.  It cannot be adult rated.  Some cross-platformability should be there.  As long as Windows 8 x86 has legacy support it should be fine.  If it doesn't then it will do abysmally.

    I am probably going to buy a Windows based Tablet and Windows Phone 8 device in february as well as upgrade to Windows 8 then.  This gives it time to work out the kinks, and there are some sales I like around that time like free phones from T-Mobile with a 2 year contract.  Probably not going to get a Nokia or Windows Surface.  Those just don't have the right hardware for me.

  • DOGMA1138DOGMA1138 Member UncommonPosts: 476

    Oh really? So the 10 gazillion developers on Apple's App store hate it that much? :rolleyes:

    There is also no direct compatibility(although there is IDE supported comparability) for Metro apps  for Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT, many of the core libraries are different.

    BTW Windows Phone 8 does not support "Metro", it used a completely different DMS.

    Also having no adult content does not mean you can't have M rated apps on there it's clearly stated that you can have, M is not adult only, they are talking about sex games and stuff like that which get rated above that:

    Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed. Metadata and other content you submit to accompany your app may contain only content that would merit a rating of PEGI 12, ESRB EVERYONE, or Windows Store 12+, or lower.

    The Windows App store uses the same policy as just any other online store has, including Steam...

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