While Google’s Chrome OS has managed to capture a decent share of the market, in the form of the company’s Chromebooks, the stripped-down platform is still far from being considered appealing, what with it being limited in capability and third-party software compatibility. As such, it seems Microsoft is now taking a crack at a bare-bones OS for notebooks, to be announced in the coming months.
According to ZDNet, the company is building a new OS alongside the Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions, called Windows 10 ‘Cloud’. A source showed the presence of mysterious code in the latest Windows Insider test builds that points to the new OS. While there hasn’t yet been an announcement for the same from the company, the source indicates Cloud is a “simplified version of Windows 10 that will be able to run only Unified Windows Platform (UWP) apps installed from the Windows Store.”
If it’s anything like Windows RT, as reports suggest, Windows Cloud could be available to PC for a fraction of the price of traditional Windows 10, or perhaps could even be a free OS. That being said, despite the name Cloud, that doesn’t necessarily suggest the OS is specifically geared towards cloud storage or computing. But if Windows plans to make this a free alternative for lower-end machines, a cloud-focused platform would make the most sense.
Then there’s the added issue of Windows Cloud probably only running UWP apps. In case you don’t remember, that’s Microsoft’s attempt to link the Windows Store across devices. What that also means is that you won’t have access to any software not available through the Windows store.UWP apps. In case you don’t remember, that’s Microsoft’s attempt to link the Windows Store across devices. What that also means is that you won’t have access to any software not available through the Windows store.
Yet, while that may be a deal-breaker for most PC users, there is merit for an OS designed around UWP. Standard WIndows 10 can serve the needs of a PC user who wants varied capability. Take, for instance, Google’s foray into education sectors with the Chromebook. The devices limited software compatibility makes it a perfectly insulated device against malware, well suited for students and government education programs. Windows Cloud could turn out to be an OS along the same lines, though with somewhat added flexibility thanks to Windows Store access.
Considering the OS was listed in the latest Insider test build, it’s likely Microsoft will make some sort of announcement regarding Windows 10 Cloud in April, around the time the company is expected to roll out the Creators Update to mainstream users.