Microsoft Releases Details about New Windows 10 Editions

Microsoft announced the names of Windows 10 editions recently, sharing the details in this blog post.

Following are the names of the editions and some basic details that Microsoft shared:

Windows 10 Edition Market Notes
Home Consumer Contains Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video"universal Windows apps." Cortana personal assistant available in"select markets" at launch. Windows Hello security feature depends on having specialized hardware.
Mobile Consumer/business Contains same universal apps as described above, but also a"touch-optimized version of Office."
Pro Small business Designed for"choose your own device" programs. Can elect Windows Update for Business update process.
Enterprise Volume Licensing customers Based on Pro edition but"supports the broadest range of options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management." Option to use Windows Update for Business or Long Term Servicing Branch update processes.
Mobile Enterprise Volume Licensing customers For use with"smartphones and small tablets." Offers"flexible ways for businesses to manage updates."
Industry Devices (Embedded) Developers, device makers Versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices, along with a Windows 10 IoT Core for small-footprint devices.
Education Academic Volume Licensing Based on Enterprise edition. Will permit student upgrades from Home and Pro editions.

Table 1. Windows 10 product editions expected to arrive this summer. Source: Microsoft blog post of May 13.

It's notable that Office universal Windows apps are only described as coming with the Windows 10 Mobile edition, which can be used by consumers and businesses. However, it's expected that Microsoft will require Office licensing for commercial use of these apps, so much remains to be described.

Also not described are further details about the free Windows 10 upgrade offer. This offer will apply to users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 if they upgrade within a year of Windows 10's launch. Enterprise edition and Windows RT users are excluded.

Features
Some of Windows 10's features were described in today's announcement, but feature availability per Windows 10 edition wasn't described in great detail.

The Continuum feature of Windows 10, which lets so-called "two-in-one" devices switch the user interface between tablet or PC modes, is just described as being part of the Home and Mobile editions, although it likely will work across all editions. Microsoft, though, has previously indicated that the size of the device may matter. For instance, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, has previously indicated that it will be possible for owners of seven-inch devices to upgrade to Windows 10 and retain the desktop user interface with the Continuum feature. Retaining the desktop mode is an important consideration for some organizations and individuals because it lets them run older Win32 apps.

Other features beside Continuum include an updated Start Menu, a single Windows Store to get universal apps that can run across different device form factors and the new Cortana personal assistant, which has been integrated into the Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft isn't promising, though, that Cortana will be available across all markets when the finished Windows 10 product is released.

Windows 10 also will come with the new Edge browser, formerly code-named "Spartan," which will be the default browser, although Internet Explorer 11 also will ship with the new operating system. The Edge browser will be the only default choice available on mobile devices, though, according to veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley.

Windows 10 also will have various security features, including a Device Guard antimalware option for business users and a Windows Hello biometric identity feature, although Windows Hello use will depend on having specific hardware on a device. A quick overview of Windows 10's features can be found in this Redmond article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.