Microsoft today announced Windows 10 will ship in at least seven editions. In no particular order, these are: Home, Mobile, Pro, Enterprise, Education, Mobile Enterprise, and IoT Core.
Microsoft once again emphasized that Windows 10 will be optimized for a broad range of devices — everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Internet of Things (IoT), Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens, Surface Hub. Despite these various editions, the company is promising that users will be able to access “a single, universal Windows Store” where they can find, try, and buy universal Windows apps.
Here is a rundown of all the editions:
- Windows 10 Home is for consumers using PCs, tablets, and 2-in-1s. It will have the major Windows 10 features we’ve seen so far: Cortana digital assistant (in select markets), Microsoft Edge browser, Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices, Windows Hello (face-recognition, iris, and fingerprint login), ability to stream Xbox One games, and first-party universal Windows apps (Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music, and Video).
- Windows 10 Mobile is for smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. It will have the same universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home, as well as the new touch-optimized version of Office. Some new devices will be able to leverage Continuum, so you can use your phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
- Windows 10 Pro is for businesses using PCs, tablets, and 2-in-1s. In addition to Windows 10 Home features, it lets you manage devices and apps, protect sensitive business data, support remote and mobile productivity scenarios, and take advantage of cloud technologies. It also features Windows Update for Business, which Microsoft promises will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, and offer quicker access to security updates.
- Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features used by medium and large organizations to help protect against modern security threats targeted at devices, identities, applications, and sensitive company information. It will be available to Microsoft’s Volume Licensing customers (Active Software Assurance customers can upgrade as part of their existing Software Assurance benefits), and they will be able to choose the pace at which they adopt new technology, including the option to use Windows Update for Business. Windows 10 Enterprise will offer the Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option.
- Windows 10 Education builds on Windows 10 Enterprise and is aimed at school staff, administrators, teachers, and students. It will be available through academic Volume Licensing, and schools will be able to upgrade Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices.
- Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Mobile for business customers. It will be available to Volume Licensing customers, and it adds ways for businesses to manage updates as well as get the latest features and security updates as soon as they are available.
- Windows 10 IoT Core is for small-footprint and low-cost devices. Microsoft expects more powerful devices (like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals, and industrial robotics) to use Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.
Microsoft hasn’t given a release date for Windows 10 yet; it is supposed to launch this summer in 190 countries. We do know, however, that it will be a staggered release thanks to Microsoft’s Windows as a service strategy: Windows 10 will launch on PCs first, and sometime later will arrive for phones, with other devices like Surface Hub and Microsoft HoloLens to follow.
There will also be free upgrades from Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 7 for one year, and with the editions revealed, we now know these will correspond to full versions of Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Mobile, and Windows 10 Home.