Microsoft had big event in NYC last week. At the event they reiterated their commitment to the education market, a playing field that has become increasingly dominated by Google services and Chromebooks. Microsoft also unveiled a high quality laptop, starting at $1000, called the Surface Laptop. However, the most interested announcement came in the form of a new variant of Windows — Windows 10 S.
Some say the “S” is for security. Others say its for speed or simplicity. In the near future, Windows 10 S will not be the only option on the market. Customers will still be able to order computers with regular Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. In the past, I have typically ordered computers with the Pro version for my clients because A) I choose business class systems that offer higher quality hardware with Pro as the default option and B) the Pro version of Windows is a bit more open to customization. Your garden variety systems sold at the big box stores or the consumer section of Dell.com will have just plain old Windows 10 (sometimes called Windows 10 Home).
Windows 10 S will be for institutional buyers or individuals who want a a super simple system. I am using so many “S words” today. I’m not trying to make this humorous. 🙂
How will Windows 10 S be better for some? The S version will only be able to install apps from the App Store, a program included included in Windows 10. It’s there. I know you may have never gone to it other than to install that Solitare game you love. There are not a lot of great non-Microsoft apps in there currently, however this could change soon. Computers running Windows 10 S will be available momentarily. At the present time, they can run Microsoft Office, any apps that are built into Windows 10 (ie. the Edge browser, calculator, Microsoft Office, Notepad, Sticky Notes, Mail, Photos, etc., etc.) and any other apps from the App Store. Apps available through the store are meticulously screened by Microsoft for security issues. This is the same model that Apple and Google use when putting apps in their iOS and Android stores. Windows App Store based apps are safe.
At this time, you can not run Chrome or the Firefox browser or iTunes on a Windows 10 S machine because those apps are not available on the App Store. More and more apps will be available in the weeks and months ahead, but I cannot predict which ones. For those of you who may not know, Edge is Microsoft’s browser successor to Internet Explorer. It is the default browser in Windows 10 S. Google can put their browser in the store as a free download as can Firefox, but I think a lot of Windows 10 S computers (which will start at $200) will have to be sold for them to see any merit in going the store route. Their current method of distribution (a direct download from their websites) is not causing anyone a big hassle.
Online banking, e-mail, and any other activity you can do inside a web browser will be possible in Windows 10 S.
At this time, I am still recommending Windows computers with the full capabilities of Windows 10 Pro. However, I could see Windows 10 S being appropriate for a client who puts security as their highest priority and does not mind a few inconveniences. Windows 10 S may also be appropriate for a second computer.