Microsoft Plans to Offer Various Windows 10 Versions

Continuing its tradition of releasing multiple editions of its OS, Microsoft will offer different Windows 10 editions for device families and uses.

Windows 10

Windows 10 will come in a variety of flavors when Microsoft releases the ambitious new operating system (OS) later this year, the company announced this week.

"As in the past, we will offer different Windows editions that are tailored for various device families and uses," Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Windows and Search Marketing at Microsoft, said in a statement. "These different editions address specific needs of our various customers, from consumers to small businesses to the largest enterprises."

Targeting consumers, Microsoft will release Windows 10 Home for PCs, tablets and convertible devices that includes the core Windows experience with a smattering of media and entertainment features. It will include the company's voice-enabled Cortana digital assistant, the new Edge Web browser and Windows Hello face-recognition technology.

Bundled apps include updated versions of Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video. One new feature for Windows Home is Xbox integration. "We are also bringing the Xbox gaming experience to Windows 10, giving games and gamers access to the Xbox Live gaming community, enabling the capture and share of gameplay and giving Xbox One owners the ability to play their Xbox One games from any Windows 10 PC in their home," Prophet said.

Aimed at small businesses, Windows 10 Pro will ship with enhanced data security and device management. "Windows 10 Pro also lets customers take advantage of the new Windows Update for Business, which will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis," Prophet said.

For the company's volume licensing customers, Windows 10 Enterprise "supports the broadest range of options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management," Prophet said.

Two Windows 10 Mobile editions for smartphones and mini-tablets are planned. "Windows 10 Mobile offers great productivity, security and management capabilities for customers who use their personal devices at work," he said.

"In addition, Windows 10 Mobile will enable some new devices to take advantage of Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen." Continuum is a Windows 10 feature that enables users to seamlessly switch their desktop and application views as they change screens or input capabilities. Also included are the company's Office apps for on-the-go productivity.

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, also for volume licensing customers, adds supports for centralized device management and OS update capabilities. Prophet added that the company is readying versions of both Windows 10 Enterprise and Mobile Enterprise for industrial robotics, point of sale terminals and ATMs.

This week, Microsoft offered Windows 10 beta testers a glimpse of what the company has in store with the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10080 for phones. Marking the first time the mobile OS is available on a non-Lumia phone—the HTC One M8—the update features Office, the Xbox app, a new Camera app and previews of the Windows Store, Music and Video apps.

Rounding out the Windows portfolio is Windows 10 Education, based on the Enterprise edition, along with Windows 10 IoT Core for Internet of things gateways and low-cost, compact devices like Raspberry Pi 2.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...