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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 S to Take on Chrome OS

Chrome OS is slowly but steadily gaining popularity as the OS of choice for users on a limited budget. By offloading most data storage to the cloud, Chrome OS machines can afford to pack low storage discs to keep costs low. In addition, the light-weight nature of Chrome OS, built on the Linux kernel, allows the operating system to run reasonably fast on a wide range of hardware. As a result, Chrome OS has come to be most associated with the educational market.

Of course, as far as computers are concerned, Microsoft can not be left out of the discussion. In order to compete more directly with Chrome OS, Microsoft has announced a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 S. Apps on Windows 10 S are downloaded from the Windows Store, so it requires that developers interested in targeting this OS will have to go through the official Store to market their app on this new platform. Windows 10 S can run desktop apps, but these apps will need to be specially packaged to work. Microsoft will bring full versions of apps in the Microsoft Office Suite to the Windows Store too, so Windows 10 S can take advantage of Microsoft’s powerful collection of software as well.

Windows 10 S also supports many peripherals and devices like Windows 10 does. Microsoft notes that the login process on this OS has been tweaked, taking just 15 seconds for a student to log in and use for the first time. Administrators can also set up machines using a USB drive with pre-configured options as Windows 10 S will detect the key and customize all the settings as necessary for school, making mass setup much less of a pain.

Microsoft’s goal with Windows 10 S is to have a wide range of partners create devices that run this new variant of Windows 10. The first two hardware partners, outside of its own premium $999 Surface Laptop, are Acer and HP. Both HP and Acer are releasing school-focused laptops with Windows 10 S that will sell for $299. Other devices with the new OS variant will also be released this summer, going as low as $189, so you will have more affordable budget options to choose from.

Windows 10 S will also be available for free to schools that are currently running Windows 10 Pro PCs and this switch will include free Office 365 for Education along with Microsoft Teams. If you want to go the other way around, i.e. upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, you will have to shell out $49 as a one-time fee. It remains to be seen if that price is worth the convenience of running all desktop apps like normal.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10 S? Can Microsoft compete with Chrome OS in the education market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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