Those of you that are in MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) can download Windows 10 S now! In case you missed the announcement of Windows 10 S a few months ago; this is Microsoft’s answer to the Chromebook.
Chromebooks have become incredibly popular in the education system due to their relative low cost and the fact that programs can only be installed from the Chrome Web Store. Microsoft is taking direct aim at the Chromebook and the education market with Windows 10 S.
Much like Chromebooks can only run certain apps, laptops that run Windows 10 S will only be able to install apps from the Windows Store. By disabling the ability for students to download third-party programs from anywhere on the internet, school administrators will be able to ensure the security of the devices being used by their students. That is, of course, assuming that no malicious app ever gets through the Windows Store verification system.
Now that MSDN users can download Windows 10 S, Microsoft is hoping developers will get to work ensuring that their apps work with Windows 10 S in anticipation of the full, public release. Those that work in education should also be able to download Windows 10 S sometime next week using the Update Assistant. However, you will also need to be using a Microsoft Surface.
It will be interesting to see if Windows 10 S affects the Chromebook market at all. The OS was built with the education market in mind. For example, Windows 10 S will be able to automatically detect and configure itself when a USB device is plugged in by an administrator. This should make setting up devices for an entire school or district much easier and offer a cohesive experience for all students and faculty. Of course, Chromebooks have had the jump on Windows 10 S in this space for a couple of years. Many schools have already made a commitment to ChromeOS and may be hesitant to make the switch now. On the flip side, some schools may have been looking at their options and Windows 10 S may have arrived just in time.
While most of us can’t download Windows 10 S right away, it won’t be long until you see these devices in the wild. Windows 10 S laptops should be hitting the market this fall with a starting price at under $200. That’s Chromebook pricing for a Windows laptop. How much market share can Microsoft wrestle away from Google? Only time will tell.