Microsoft has unveiled a new Windows 10 S operating system along with a new lineup of Surface laptop aimed mainly at students and education market. Previous rumors tipped that the Windows OS will be known as Windows 10 Cloud, instead it’s been named Windows 10 S by the Redmond software giant. It was clear from yesterday’s event that Microsoft chief focus was to cater education market and wrest some of the ground lost to Google’s Chromebooks. Windows 10 S is a lighter version of Windows 10, which is directed at education market and students.
Windows 10 S Is Released To Give Users An Added Option Beside Google’s Chrome OS
The defining feature of the Windows 10 S is that it allows access to only those apps and games that are available on the Windows Store. It locks users to Microsoft’s own app store by blocking access to apps and games from other sources and app stores. Microsoft’s Windows Chief Terry Myerson said at the event, “Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store.”
Windows 10 S is Microsoft’s attempt to go after Google’s Chromebook market. This lightweight version of the Windows 10 will be restricted only to the Windows Store. Users can still download Win32 and Windows 10 apps from the Windows 10 S Windows Store, but anything outside of it is not permitted for download on Windows 10 S devices.
However, that doesn’t mean users will be locked with the Windows Store apps forever. Windows 10 S is capable of running desktop apps provided they are listed on the Windows Store. Moreover, according to Myerson, “Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store.” This leave the room open for Google to chip in with its own apps for Windows 10 S.
— Windows (@Windows) May 2, 2017
Windows 10 S Features
Now since Microsoft is primarily targeting education market with Windows 10 S, the company has ensured that it contains features that make management of multiple Windows 10 S running devices in Schools and colleges super easy. And to this end the company has introduced a new Set-Up PCs feature for schools, which will enable admins to save PC configuration settings on one USB stick that can then be connected to other PCs to configure them on the same settings. Windows 10 S achieves this by identifying the key and customize all settings accordingly, thus making the entire process easy and fast.
At the event held in New York, Microsoft also announced that users will be able to upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows Pro for free in order to run normal Windows 10 desktop apps on their devices. Upgrade will be free for the first year, after which it will cost $50 per year. However, there is a catch, once upgraded to the Pro version of Windows 10, users can’t downgrade to Windows 10 S.
Microsoft is also releasing lots of other products such as Surface laptops and various hardware items in collaboration with PC partners. Windows 10 S devices start from as low as $189. All new products will be released with free subscription of Minecraft: Education Edition and free Office 365 education with Microsoft Teams. Schools and colleges currently using Windows 10 Pro will get free Windows 10 S copies.
Only time will tell what this means for Microsoft future growth prospects in the education market where Google is slowly making its mark with Chromebooks and Chrome OS. Microsoft is also claiming that using apps downloaded from the Windows Store gives more battery life. Furthermore, Windows 10 S is capable of running standard x86-based desktop software as well.