Microsoft confirms there will be 7 editions of Windows 10
Microsoft just cleared up some of the confusion around the different varieties of Windows 10 that will be available when it ships later this year.
The company confirmed Wednesday that the operating system will come in seven different editions, including desktop and mobile versions for homes and businesses, along with offerings for schools and the Internet of Things.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has offered different versions of its software — Windows 8 shipped in a number of different editions as well — but this marks the first time Microsoft has clearly outlined exactly how it’s positioning its different Windows 10 experiences.
“We designed Windows 10 to deliver a more personal computing experience across a range of devices,” Microsoft’s Tony Prophet wrote in a blog post. “An experience optimized for each device type, but familiar to all. Windows 10 will power an incredibly broad range of devices – everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface Hub.”
As with Windows 8, the consumer-ready editions are focused on desktop and mobile.
- Windows 10 Home: This is the “consumer-focused desktop edition” that will replace Windows 8 Consumer and the one most users will see on their PCs, laptops, tablets and “hybrid” 2-in-1 devices. It will ship with Cortana and Microsoft’s Edge browser and have Continuum capabilities. Xbox users will also be able to play Xbox Live games on PCs with Windows 10 Home.
- Windows 10 Mobile: Formerly Windows Phone 8.1, this edition will run on smartphones and tablets with smaller displays. It will run universal Windows 10 apps and the newOffice apps optimized for smaller touchscreen devices.
For companies, Microsoft is offering two business-focused desktop editions, depending on the size of the organization.
- Windows 10 Pro: Meant to replace Windows 8.1 Pro, it’s designed for small businesses, with extra features to allow companies to manage apps and data across devices. Windows 10 Pro users can also take advantage of Microsoft’s new Windows Update for Business program, which makes it easier for organizations to control how they get security and other updates from Microsoft.
- Windows 10 Enterprise: This edition replaces Windows 8.1 Enterprise and is designed for larger companies. It has more robust security features and also supports the Windows Update for Business program. Enterprise customers aren’t able to take advantage of Microsoft’s free Windows 10 update as it’s only available to volume licensing customers.
- Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise: Formerly Windows Phone for Business, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is the enterprise edition for smartphones and smaller tablets. Also available to volume licensing customers, It gives companies more control over security features and how updates are installed.
Finally, Microsoft is adding new editions for schools and connected devices.
- Windows 10 Education: The academic edition’s feature set is similar to the enterprise edition in that it gives admins more control over how updates and security features are managed and is available through academic volume licensing. Microsoft also says there will be “paths for schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.”
- Windows 10 IoT Core: This edition appears to be the replacement for Windows Embedded and will power smaller connected devices, like gateways. (Larger-scale devices like ATMs and retail point-of-sale devices will run versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, Microsoft says.)
Microsoft notes the company is “on track” for a summer release for Windows 10, though exact availability details are still unclear. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for the first year to most consumers who already have licenses for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.