As is often the case with Microsoft operating system releases, we’re interested in the beta and preview versions, releases dates, and what Microsoft will end up calling them. With a long history of just screwing up names (or at the very least, making them confusing), these things can tend to be a big thing while we use the software for the next few years.
We now have these details in the form of a blog post from Microsoft. With these new details, Microsoft will offer various different versions of Windows 10 based on the vertical markets they target. The full list of versions are as follows:
Windows 10 Home – The most commonly installed version of Windows. You’ll find this preinstalled on most retail laptops. Expect at least an OEM and Retail SKU. Thankfully Microsoft has done away with the “Windows 8” moniker and signalled the distinct difference from the “Pro” version. Microsoft’s new browser “Edge” will ship with this version of Windows.
Windows 10 Mobile – Somewhat of a departure for Microsoft, but they’re including the mobile operating system on this list. It’s going to be very interesting to see what qualifies as a mobile device as new form factors might be introduced. As with the Windows/Netbook screen size struggle, device makers may be forced to go smaller (or bigger) because of artificial requirements on Windows.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – The Enterprise counterpart to Windows 10 targetted volume licensing customers. This version of the mobile looks to prioritize manageability and security over other features. This won’t be a common sight.
Windows 10 Pro – The version aimed at businesses looking for enhanced network management and active directory features. This is likely still going to be the only version of Windows that can join a domain. Cue millions of $100 updates after customers realize they only purchased “Home”. Interestingly, this and the “Home” version are targeted at tablets and 2-in-1s. Does this mean a tablet maker could have the choice between Mobile and Home/Pro?
Windows 10 Enterprise – This version is rarely encountered in small businesses and includes a number of features suited for large enterprise management scenarios. You’ll probably not hear or see much of this version if you don’t work for a big company.
Windows 10 Education – A version aimed at schools seems like a smart move. The Education sector is growing and has some very specific needs for devices. Given that it “builds on Windows 10 Enterprise”, this edition is likely going to be high-end and rare.
What version do you need? As is always the case, there are a few versions you’ll want to pay attention to if you’re a user or part of a small business. If you use a compatible mobile phone, you’ll only be seeing Windows 10 Mobile. If you are using a computer in a business with a Windows server (Active Directory), Windows 10 Pro is what you’ll want. Otherwise, all other computers just need Windows 10 Home.
Windows 10 is expected this summer and will likely be a free upgrade to most users. Microsoft appears intent on updating and upgrading Windows on a far faster cycle than previously seen.