Microsoft Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Last week, Microsoft announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system. The Windows Vista product lineup consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter.
According to Microsoft the lineup is designed to deliver clear value to a broad range of customers, each product tailored to meet specific needs of various segments of customers - home PC users, small and medium-sized businesses and the largest enterprises - and is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.
"We live in a digital world that is filled with more information, more things to do and more ways to communicate with others than ever," said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management and Marketing at Microsoft. "The PC needs to give people the clarity and confidence to handle this 'world of more' so they can focus on what's most important to them. With our Windows Vista product line, we've streamlined and tailored our product lineup to provide what our customers want for today's computing needs."
Seems rather complicated does it? So let's take a look what distinguishes these different versions.
Let's start with the choices a home user would be making:
- Windows Vista Home Basic. A choice for homes with basic computing needs. This version does not include the Aero user interface, and does not have Media Center and Tablet PC capabilities, nor the integrated DVD burning.
- Windows Vista Home Premium. Includes everything in Windows Vista Home Basic, along with additional features and enhancements such as the following:
- The Aero user interface
- Media Center and Tablet PC capabilities
- Integrated DVD burning and authoring
- Windows Vista Ultimate. The edition of Windows Vista that has it all, bringing together all the entertainment features, mobility features and business-oriented features available in Windows Vista.
Business customers can choose from two versions that are designed to meet their needs, based on the size and scale of their organizations:
- Windows Vista Business. Designed for organizations of all sizes.
- Windows Vista Enterprise. Provides higher levels of data protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include tools to improve application compatibility and will enable organizations to standardize on a single worldwide deployment image with the inclusion of all Windows user-interface languages. Windows Vista Enterprise will be available only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. These are some of the specific Windows Vista Enterprise features:
- Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption: helps prevent sensitive data and intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands if a computer is lost or stolen.
- Virtual PC Express: enables for example a legacy application to run unchanged on a legacy Windows operating system in a virtual environment on top of Windows Vista Enterprise.
- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications enables users to run UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows Vista Enterprise-based PC
Microsoft also will offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging markets. Microsoft describes the Starter edition as follows: "Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level PC users in these markets to experience the world of social and educational benefits that personal computer technology and the Internet makes possible. A 32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows Vista Starter enables popular beginner PC activities and provides an easy-to-use and more affordable entry point to the Windows Vista family of products."
So all-in-all the choices users have to make are not that difficult. If you use the PC for bare minimum, go for Vista Home Basic. Most users that will be reading this article will most likely want Vista Home Premium. If you want to upgrade from Windows XP Tablet PC edition or Windows XP Media Center edition, you'll need Vista Home Premium too.
Microsoft has not released any pricing details, and says that all versions of Windows Vista are scheduled to be broadly available in the second half of 2006.
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