Microsoft has took the wraps off its latest branch of Windows. Announced Windows 10 S as it’s essential answer to Chrome OS, to simplify for low-end hardware and in particular, the education market.
The latest version of Windows 10 S operating system is now a real deal and apparently aimed squarely at the education market. It trades app support in the name of security and performance. In fact, Microsoft’s intentions with the new Windows 10 S are very clear, that is to provide true competition for Google’s Chrome OS platform on which so many educational computers currently run.
Previously, with the release of Windows 8.1 with Bing, Microsoft has taken some potshots at Google’s Chromebooks and today, though, it’s going for the jugular. The newly introduced version is not Cloud-based like the rumors suggested, but is stripped-back, education-oriented version of operating system that gives up some apps support in the sake of simplicity and performance.
According to Microsoft one of the main key differences for Windows 10 S is the fact that it will only run apps that are downloaded via the company’s own Windows Store. Which means you can only run Windows Store apps (including Office 365 apps, which are coming soon), but schools don’t have to worry about the vulnerabilities that come with running any old Windows app. Other versions of Windows can literally install apps from third-parties at the discretion of users. While Store apps run in a relatively safe container where malware and other threats aren’t likely to be an issue.
This limitation does make Windows 10 S particularly suited to working in an educational environment. “Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store”, says Microsoft’s Windows chief Terry Myerson, and that is key.
Now, the new version of Windows for educational systems may be locked down, but it does support accessories and peripherals in the same way “normal” a normal Windows powered-PC does, and “Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store”, according to Myerson. Making this version accessible, users will be able to install the likes of Google Chrome if the search-engine giant brings its browser to the portion of the Windows Store specifically catering to Windows 10 S machines.
Other changes include tools to help teachers manage their PCs, such as the ability to easily preload software using a USB key, well suited for use in schools include a faster log-in sequence, down to around 15 seconds accordingly and support for configuration of machines to be carried out via a USB stick – Windows 10 S will detect the stick and customize itself. And while it’s separate from Windows 10 S proper, there will be a classroom experience for Microsoft Team that lets teachers and students chat and collaborate.
Windows 10 S will be fully-ready in the summer, and it’s clear though that cost will be important: PCs shipping with the operating system will start at prices as low as $189. All Windows 10 S computers will ship with a free subscription yo Minecraft: Education Edition and Windows 10 S itself will be free for schools that are already equipped with machines that are running on Windows 10 Pro. With the full package of Office 365 education with Microsoft Teams included for free, so students will have something to work on when not playing Minecraft.
You can also upgrade to full-fledged Windows 10 for $49 (it’s free during 2017) if the Windows Store’s catalog proves too limiting. Additionally, computers running Windows 10 S will be able to run desktop-only apps that are download off of the Windows 10 Store, for a nominal fee. Looking to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro in the future as said above will be able to do so, but for a price.
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