What’s the Difference Between Windows RT and Windows 8?

Windows operating systems have always been tied to the “x86” chip set which means Windows only ran (natively) on Intel and AMD processors. ARM processors have become hugely popular in mobile devices because they offer lots of processing power without using a lot of electrical power. With Windows RT, Microsoft has created a version of Windows 8 that runs natively on multi-core ARM processors like those from Nvidia (Tegra), Qualcomm (Snapdragon) and Texas Instruments (OMAP).

This is good news for consumers who want a low power device that runs Windows however the bad news is that because it represents an entirely new platform, old Windows apps will not run on Windows RT. In other words Microsoft and other developers will have to port their Windows apps to Windows RT.

Microsoft will be offering a scaled down version of Office for RT when it ships. Windows RT “apps” will be available from the Microsoft app store where you’ll also be able to purchase the same “Metro-style” apps for non-RT Windows 8. We understand that the same app you purchase will in many cases run on both WinRT and Win8 and can be installed on 5 devices at the same time. It looks like the Windows Phone Store will be the place to buy Windows Phone 8 apps.

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