Aug 04, 2015
OK so Windows 10 has finally been officially released, so what are we actually getting? As usual, Microsoft has released not just one Windows 10, but multiple different editions, each with different capabilities, features and target users. So far Microsoft has released details on the following:
- 2x Retail editions (Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro),
- 2x “Enterprise” editions (Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education),
- 2x Mobile editions (Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise)
- 2x “specialised” editions - Windows IoT Core (Internet of Things - a small footprint version similar to the older Windows Embedded editions for dedicated devices such as point of sale machines (or even Raspberry Pi 2 anyone?)) and the European “N” versions (no inbuilt media related technologies such as Media Player and other “Media Pack” features).
Note that some variations on the above editions and certain new features may require specialized hardware.
In this blog, I will be giving a quick rundown on the main editions and some of their capabilities – including lots of hyperlinks!
Windows 10 Home
The basic consumer version, giving its users such new features such as:
- Edge (a brand new browser previously referred to as Spartan)
- Cortana (Microsoft’s voice activated personal assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri or Google Now. Previously available only on Windows Phone devices)
- Continuum (Window’s ability to “mode-switch” between PC desktop mode with mouse and keyboard inputs etc., and tablet mode – ie big icons etc.)
- Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello (2-factor authentication including biometric support for facial, fingerprint, iris recognition etc.- some dependence upon hardware)
- XBOX Integration (play your XBOX One games on Window 10)
- Instant Go (formally known as Connected Standby – now includes device encryption but not BitLocker)
- The ability to side load business apps
- The usual consumer apps such as Calendar, Mail, Maps, Music, Photos and Video etc.
Windows 10 Home is offered as a free online upgrade to owners of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8.1. It can be upgraded to Windows 10 Education but will not be able to be upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise. Release date: 29th July 2015.
Windows 10 Pro
The basic business edition. Includes such features as:
Windows 10 Pro is also offered as a free online upgrade to owners of Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate and Windows 8.1 Pro and can then be further upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise (requires volume licencing – see below). Release date: 29th July 2015.
Windows 10 Enterprise
Microsoft’s offering to medium to large businesses. It is available only to Volume Licensing customers, but OEM clients can upgrade to Enterprise from the Windows 10 Pro edition. Note that there is no OEM or retail edition of Enterprise. Large organizations can create private sites in the Windows Store, where employees can sign in and choose from a list of approved apps, with administrators being able to manage app licenses. Includes additional enterprise features such as:
Release Date: 1st August 2015.
Windows 10 Education
Microsoft’s education offering for the academic sector, it has essentially the same feature set as Windows 10 Enterprise but without LTSB, and is available only with a valid academic Volume Licensing account. Schools and students can upgrade to this edition from Windows 10 Home or Pro devices. Release Date: 1st August 2015.
Windows 10 Mobile
Designed for smartphones and small tablets (under 8 inches) that typically use ARM or Intel Atom processors. It is the successor to Windows Phone 8.1. Not offered as a standalone product, but will probably be available as an over the air upgrade for owners of Windows Phone 8.1. Includes features such as Universal App support, Continuum (see Windows 10 Home above), and will now include -XBOX and Office (with Word, Excel and PowerPoint) Apps . No release date has been given as the time of writing this blog with Microsoft saying “later this year”, but some pundits are guessing around a September release – subject to hardware and carrier requirements.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
Details are still somewhat sketchy at the moment but will most likely be available only to Volume licensing customers, and include enterprise features – shared with Windows 10 enterprise edition - such as support for Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM – a mobile device management service) and integrated SCCM and InTune support.
Well that is a brief overview of the main Windows 10 variants – Microsoft of course have a lot more detailed info in the form of comparison tables etc. here, and if you want more details on just how to upgrade your device to Windows 10 go here.