Microsoft recently unveiled Windows 10 S, a version of the operating system that is designed for the classroom.
Windows 10 S will be first seen in the new 13-inch Surface Laptop that was announced alongside it. The Surface Laptop will be released on June 15 with a starting price of $999.
What Is Windows 10 S?
Microsoft has not yet revealed what exactly the letter S stands for, but we do know that the Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows. Officials have claimed that the S can stand for security, simplicity, and superior performance. According to Microsoft Windows and Devices Group head Terry Myerson, it can also stand for soul.
Devices running Window 10 S, including the upcoming Surface Laptop, will only be able to run apps downloaded from the Windows Store, in exchange for a variety of great features.
Windows 10 S offers speed, with the operating system capable of booting in just 15 seconds. This is possible because Windows 10 S is a lightweight version of Windows 10, with less hardware configurations that will allow it to be run on cheaper and less powerful computers as low as $189. Windows 10 S will work with all computers and accessories that are supported by Windows 10 and can be installed through a USB.
Windows 10 S was also built based on Windows 10 Pro, instead of Windows 10 Home. As such, it will come with several Windows 10 Pro features such as Mobile Device Management, Azure Active Directory, and business editions of Windows Store and Windows Update.
Microsoft also claimed that Windows 10 S will offer significantly better battery life, with the Surface Laptop said to be able to last for 14.5 hours on a single charge.
Customers who purchase Windows 10 S may upgrade the operating system to Windows 10 Pro for free before the year ends if they are dissatisfied with it. Schools that are using Windows 10 Pro PCs can also choose to install Windows 10 S for free, along with Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft recently announced plans to team up with Qualcomm for Snapdragon 835-powered laptops, and Windows 10 S will likely be the operating system pre-installed into these devices.
Windows 10 S: Chrome OS Challenger Or Windows RT 2.0?
Microsoft is positioning Windows 10 S as a challenger to Google's Chrome OS, the operating system that is powering the affordable but powerful Chromebooks.
While schools will definitely not ditch inexpensive Chromebooks for the $999 Surface Laptop, future computers with Windows 10 S will come with the same advantages and provide the same solutions for school settings that are offered by the Chrome OS.
However, as much as Windows 10 S is being billed as a Chromebook killer, it is also in danger of being the second coming of Windows RT.
Windows RT, which was launched four years ago on the Surface RT tablet, was deemed to be a failure. It basically functioned as a watered-down version of Windows 8 that was not able to run traditional software.
Windows RT came with an insufficient selection of apps, and while Office was included in the operating system, it was not enough to bring the software into relevance. When Windows 10 S is launched in June, users will find that apps such as Apple iTunes and Google Chrome will not be available, with Microsoft's Edge the only available browser.
The response of customers, particularly in the education sector, to Windows 10 S remains to be seen. For the operating system to be successful, Microsoft will need to populate the Windows Store with enough options to stand toe-to-toe with Google's services and the apps on the Play Store.