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Windows 10 will be the one OS to rule them all, but Microsoft isn’t making the same mistake it did with Windows 8. It has largely clarified what the OS’s destiny is, and thus will be releasing seven distinct versions to cover its seven target brackets.
It’s not too dissimilar to previous OSes, but Windows 10, according to Microsoft at least, will power “everything from elevators to ATMs to heart rate monitors to wearables.”
So, what does this mean for the consumer, the enterprise and the likes of the mobile computing world? We outline the seven briefly below.
Windows 10 Home
Home users who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the small enterprise of the super users. This is the edition most desktops and PCs will boast when perusing your local retailer’s lineup, and it should suffice for more common usage cases.
Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Continuum, Windows Hello facial recognition, “iris and fingerprint login” will all feature in the OS out of the box, notes Microsoft.
Windows 10 Pro
It’s basically Windows 10 Home with a body kit.
“[I]t has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses,” notes Microsoft, and will help small enterprises to “effectively and efficiently manage their devices and apps, protect their sensitive business data, support remote and mobile productivity scenarios and take advantage of cloud technologies.”
Windows 10 Mobile
Microsoft’s focusing on smaller, portable devices here, so the likes of “touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets” will feature this version of Windows 10. Microsoft has noted that practically all the bells and whistles of Windows 10 Home will feature, but all apps will be geared for touch interfaces. This version is also available through the free update scheme.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
There’s also a a business-orientated version of Windows 10 Mobile, which “is designed to deliver the best customer experience to business customers on smartphones and small tablets.”
It allows businesses to better manage security and updates on mobile devices and will suit companies that provide a plethora of mobile devices to its employees.
The company’s new Windows 10 on “one billion devices” seems extremely likely with the span of its seven versions.
Windows 10 Education
Here’s a new one. This is a version of Windows fit for school “staff, administrators, teachers and students.” Similar to the Enterprise versions of Windows, Education will be available through the Volume Licensing scheme. Those using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro can also upgrade to Education should they wish to do so, but we’re not sure if that’s a free upgrade.
Windows 10 Enterprise
This will probably be the most important version of Windows 10. It’s designed for “medium and large sized organizations.” Businesses usually shy away from updating their devices’ OSes, as was the case with Windows 7 to Windows 8.x, but Microsoft has found a rather smart remedy for this.
It will be available through the Volume Licensing scheme, but it will also be geared towards data security.
At the same time, [businesses] will be able to choose the pace at which they adopt new technology, including the option to use the new Windows Update for Business. With Windows 10, Enterprise customers will also have access to the Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments. And as with prior versions of Windows, Active Software Assurance customers in Volume Licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise as part of their existing Software Assurance benefits.
Windows 10 IoT Core
Of course, last but not least is the Internet of Things fork of Windows 10, which will run on developer and tinkerer boards like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Microsoft is also hoping that this version of the OS will be used in “ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics.” These aforementioned devices will also be able to run on the Enterprise versions should the implementer desire more control of the device’s security.
Microsoft has yet to announce firm launch details of its latest OS, but the company is “on track to make it available this summer,” so expect it to arrive within the next three months.