During Microsoft’s Surface event, the company unveiled Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, a slimmed-down version of Windows capable of running on low-end hardware.
Why would Microsoft need to develop an OS for low-end hardware, simple, they’re now finally growing some balls and are attempting to take Google’s Chromebooks on, head on, rather than sitting back and launching anti-Google campaigns.
Despite being a slightly confusing name to the general consumer, Windows 10 S will be a much slimmer version of Windows where everything that runs on the OS can be downloaded from the Windows Store. Desktop programs may also become available on the OS, but they’ll need to be repackaged for the OS and then listed on the Windows Store.
Of course, with Google’s dominance over the education sector with its Chromebooks, Microsoft is playing catch up, however during the keynote, Microsoft failed to really show off any killer features and instead mentioned that the company have “streamlined” the default wallpaper for Windows 10 S. It’ll also be quicker to boot up and login compared to Windows 10 Pro, and will have the ability for educators to use pre-configured USB keys to ensure each laptop is set up correctly with all of the custom features and settings.
Microsoft also announced that they hope to have a wide range of PC partners with Windows 10 S. The first series of Windows 10 S laptops will launch this summer starting at $189, and all machines will come with a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition. Windows 10 S will also be free for all schools currently running Windows 10 Pro PCs, and include free Office 365 education with Microsoft Teams.
Now, where Microsoft might really be able to dominate over Chromebooks is bringing full versions of Office to the Windows Store. Though, Google Docs aren’t that much different to Office, plus they’re completely free to use.
Finally, Microsoft revealed that there will be an option to enable all desktop apps on Windows 10 S computers, though it’ll come at a price. Those purchasing devices running Windows 10 S will also have the choice to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $49, which if you’re wanting to do this on a number of PCs that cost could soon rack up.