It's Finally Official - Windows Vista - 6 Versions - simplified for you

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I can finally talk about it externally. Today Microsoft announced the 6 versions of Vista that are heading your way. I thought I would share the information with you in a simplified format without the marketing speek.  This is by NO MEANS a detailed discussion about all the differences between all the versions or a detailed discussion of the feature set – I am sure there will be plenty of time to have more discussion around Vista as the days go on.

6 versions will be available – 2 targeted at Business, 3 at the consumer market - 1 only available in "Emerging Markets".  All except 1 (emerging market) are available in 32 and 64 bit environments.

In the Business category:
Windows Vista Business

  • Everything an IT department needs regardless of their size. The new interface of Aero Glass designed to give you a productive and high performance desktop experience. This isn’t just nice eye-candy – I’ve been using it for a while and it is hard to go back to the XP interface.
  • Absolutely awesome search capabilities and document / file organisation improvements. I demo’ed this back in September with the TechNet Innovations tour. I love it. I tell ya – I have so much data to wrangle, it’s uncanny how nice this feature is.
  • livin’ with Tablets – I use one every day and I love it. Tablet Experience is very nice in Vista. With tablets / convertibles rivalling the power and price of laptops these days – I don’t see why someone would NOT want to have a machine with tablet capabilities.

Window Vista Enterprise

  • Includes everything that is in Windows Vista Business plus support for better data protection with Hardware based encryption technologies that support BitLocker Drive Encryption.  I’m getting a laptop upgraded in a couple of months that will include support for the TMP chip – I can’t wait to try this out.
  • Got some applications that you don’t think will run on Vista with it’s least user access principles? You can have them run with Virtual PC Express and remove some of the Blockers that might be stopping you from deploying Vista as soon as you would like.
  • A subsystem for Unix allowing you to run native Unix applications.
  • If your systems have high end video cards (most recent ones do) you can also use the Aero Glass visual enhancements.

For Consumers
Windows Vista Home Basic

  • just like the name implies – what you need to get the job done. Email, surfing the web, connecting and communicating with people, working with documents.
  • A nice safe and reliable computing environment – including parental controls.

Windows Vista Home Premium

  • Taking it to the next level of digital entertainment experiences to access and use your photos, music and video.
  • Aero Glass interface is supported in this edition for the home user, provided a supported video card is installed.
  • Same great information management capabilities to wade through tons of documents, pictures and information
  • Windows Media Centre capabilities (provided you have the proper hardware) to watch and record TV (including HighDef) and even extend it to other rooms with high def extender capable devices like my new xBox 360 I got for Christmas
  • Tablet PC support for the consumer – again, hardware dependent, but with convertables and tablets rivalling the price of laptops, you’ll see more of these devices in homes and dorm rooms.
  • DVD burning and authoring to share your experiences with others. I know I have a grandparent or two that are dying to see more video of my Twins or older son.

Windows Vista Ultimate

  • for those who need or want it all. Wrap up all the technologies described here in both the consumer and business focused sections and you get Windows Vista Ultimate.

But wait - that is only 5? Where is the 6th? It’s called Windows Vista Starter due to be released only in emerging markets – targeted at lower end systems and only in 32 bit.

Before you jump up and ask “do I have to throw out my older computer to use vista?” Let me answer that question by saying that I have loaded my old 700Mhz system with 512 megs of ram and a 32 meg nvidia card and it works just fine with the current Community Technology Preview build (February release). It’s not something that I would be editing any videos on and it doesn’t support the Aero Glass interface, but for doing what it is being used for (email, web and kids games) it works just fine thank you!  I could go out an buy a stronger video card for the Aero Glass interface, but I am on a restricted hardware budget ever since the twins came along.

Much more information to come. If you are looking for more IT Pro related information – here it is.. We’re already populating info on the TechNet site. I can’t wait to talk some more about the underlying technologies – once I get back from the tour. I promised Bruce that I would stay focused as much as possible for the next few weeks until the tour is over.

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