UPDATE February 4th 2017 – A leak
Yesterday (February 3rd) the first leak of Windows 10 Cloud reached the hands of a number of news sites.
As expected this Windows SKU seem to be limited to run Windows Store apps only, according to the screen shots: “…To protect your device…”. I do agree on UWP apps being more secure, but I would argue the main reason is to give OEM:s a cheap/free Windows version and drive traffic, users and therefore apps to Windows Store.
What surprises me is the comment made by Brad Sams @ Thurrott.com that Windows 10 Cloud currently do not support apps converted with Project Centennial. This to me makes little sense and Windows Blog Italia in their turn states it does (look at the post from Neowin for an English wrap-up). It makes no sense to me not to allow/enable Centennial apps to run, it would be counter-productive. So I sure hope that Neowin is right, and if not that this behavior will change.
Brad also raises the fact that: WoA (Windows on ARM) is coming and will be able to run Win32/x86 apps. Which doesn’t seem to be the case with Windows 10 Cloud – or for the matter wasn’t the fact with Windows RT. Why would Microsoft release a another OS that cant run Win32 apps?
I’m still quiet certain that this has to do with pricing. WoA will probably come with a cost for the OEMs – if everything Microsoft promise for it is true, it would mean a lot for the market, and OEMs would probably be willing to pay for it.
But, there will always be organizations or use cases where the price need to be even lower – and Windows 10 Cloud could cover that market. I also see a potential in POS (Point of Sale) and IoT. Windows 10 IoT is free today, but is limited in the way it runs a GUI.
Now with the first leak, I’m sure several others will follow – so ill most likely get back on the subject.
The last couple of days there has been several articles about Windows 10 Cloud:
And I wanted to add my opinion on the matter – mostly in line with what others already have said, but connected to my day-to-day work.
So, first of all I want to bring attention to another matter, namely Windows on ARM. For you that have missed it: Its a new version of Windows that we will start to see at the end of this year. It will run on the same kind of CPU:s that phones and tablets running iOS – and for this article, more importantly, Android. This is nothing new in itself, this has already been done with Windows RT. But RT lacked the ability to run x86 apps – this is not the case with Windows on ARM (WoA). Its a big deal, and if done right, it will probably change the game completely for the iPad for example.
Devices running ARM CPUs usually has better battery life, requires less cooling surface, and usually incorporates features like 4G/LTE-modems and so on. ARM CPUs and SoCs are also considerably cheaper than the today equivalent Intel CPUs. So, it would in theory mean cheaper tablets more “iPad-like” Windows devices for a good price and with good performance.
If this turns out to be as good as it sounds – a big piece of the price of a tablet would be the Windows license. This, in my opinion, wouldn’t be a big deal for a consumer in the western part of the world – but in other parts of the world it will be. Price also plays an important part for many industries and perhaps most obvious in education. I discussed this briefly in the last episode of me and Alexanders podcast. So price is important – and now we’re back at Windows 10 Cloud.
Windows 10 Cloud could be a cheap or free alternative to a full version of Windows. Most news-sites guess that this will be compensated by some settings being force to use Microsoft services like Bing. But there could also possibly be a limitations in what apps the device could run. Perhaps only apps from the Windows Store. This reminds some of us of the not-so-successful Windows RT.
Ill admit straight away: I love(d) Windows RT. I still use my Surface 2 because of the weight and battery life. It actually works quiet well with the Keyboard from Surface 3 – which makes it a great companion device. Windows RT could only run apps from the Windows Store – and the Office package. Which in some cases were enough, but to be honest – how many apps did it exist in Windows Store at that time? So, it disappeared.
Today, with more and more services being web-based, more (yes more, but not many) apps in the Store, Office 365 and a proven business model of Chromebooks. I believe that the time may be right for a new “Windows RT” = Windows 10 Cloud. It will just work better than before and people are more used to the idea.
From an admin point of view, RT lacked the ability to be managed, this is not the case for Windows 10. We have a good MDM support, a more phone-like way of managing the OS, an even more secure OS and the Windows Store for Business. Intune for Education could also have an important role to play in this.
From a hardware point of view, RT existed on Surface and a very limited amount of other devices. Windows can, soon, run on in theory anything. We see more and more Cloud-book like laptops and 2-in-1 machines at a low price point. This is turn will make the platform more desirable and financially it will make sense.
So, I would love the addition of a Windows 10 Cloud version. I believe its time and I believe that both Microsoft and their hardware partners are ready to embrace the OS. I bet the addition of Windows on ARM will play an important part – and I can’t wait to see the devices and solution all this will create.
What’s your thoughts on the matter? Please let me know!