The recent Microsoft education-centric event in New York led to several big announcements. One was the new Surface Laptop, designed to be as lightweight as possible and the other was Windows 10 S – the default OS on the device.
This is an all-new version of Windows that gives you the same overall Windows 10 experience – but with a catch. Only apps installed via the Windows Store will run on the device by default. This means that Edge will be your default browser, and Windows Defender will be your security suite. For the target market of education, the claim is that this is more secure for users and that the UWP apps will ensure faster startup times and better overall performance.
It is a streamlined version of Windows that remains fully-featured, but doesn’t allow third-party applications. Windows 10 S uses OneDrive for cloud storage, and lets you move things from local storage to the cloud with ease. S is designed to add another branch to the Windows 10 family, with Home being fairly basic, S being used for security and students, and pro being the most fully-featured with a variety of programs supported for professional and business users. Those who buy a Surface laptop and want third-party apps, you can upgrade to Pro for $50. Students can also gain access to Pro for free as an upgrade – which is nice.
Microsoft creating a Windows Store-only version of Windows makes sense for them and drives awareness of the Windows Store. However, its app selection is fairly lean for many functions and it is a bit too laden with shovelware to be considered a viable option for most users. The store also has a habit of removing some applications, and gamers looking for a suitable storefront will be disappointed due to its lean selection of games.
It does have a reasonable amount of options for things like image editing though, and low-cost screenshot editing tools can make things like instructional articles and videos easier to create. Windows 10 S is an interesting shift to an Apple-style approach of a walled garden could lead to more Windows Store app sales – but it could also alienate some users who don’t like the idea of having the ability to install third-party apps locked behind a $50 paywall.