Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 S. This is Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, and the new streamlined version of Windows 10 is being targeted mainly at students. Can Windows 10 S take a serious slice out of Google’s share of the education market?
Chromebooks aren’t for everyone, but the cheap and cheerful (if you exclude the Chromebook Pixel) laptops have proved particularly popular with students. This is a problem for Microsoft, which is losing consumers at an age when brand awareness and platform preferences are set.
Cue Windows 10 S.
Limited to Windows Store Apps
Windows 10 S is Windows 10, “streamlined for security and superior performance”. The biggest difference between Windows 10 S, and Windows 10 Home and Pro, is that the former can only run apps obtained from the Windows Store. This will be an annoying limitation for power users, but it does offer some obvious advantages.
Microsoft screens every app before offering it up on the Windows Store. They also run in secure sandboxes. This means that Windows Store apps are much safer to install than other programs. Windows Store apps are also optimized for performance, meaning they should use less of your laptop’s battery and other resources.
— Windows (@Windows) May 2, 2017
Just like Chrome OS, Windows 10 S is intended for use on low-end hardware. OEMs including Asus, Samsung, Dell, and HP have all already committed to bringing out new Windows 10 S-powered laptops with prices starting as low as $189. Which puts them on an almost equal footing to Chromebooks in terms of price.
All Windows 10 S devices will come with a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition. It will also be available for free to any schools currently running Windows 10 Pro. If you buy a Windows 10 S laptop and find the OS too limiting you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $50.
It’s Windows RT All Over Again
Microsoft has already tried its hand at lightweight versions of Windows. In 2011, Microsoft introduced Windows RT, a limited, and ultimately flawed, version of Windows 8. And then there was Windows 8.1 with Bing, which, the less said about the better, to be honest. Only time will tell whether Windows 10 S fares any better.
As a side note, the S in Windows 10 S doesn’t officially stand for anything. However, it could mean “Schools,” “Students,” “Store,” or even “Streamlined”. We suspect you may have some suggestions of your own, so feel free to leave a comment below telling us what you think the S stands for. Please be nice.
We’d also welcome other comments, so feel free to tell us what you think of Windows 10 S!