Windows 10 Cloud is a new edition of Windows 10 being built to take on Chromebooks in education, and though it's largely the same as the "normal" Windows 10, it has a few notable differences.
Windows 10 Cloud is a new edition of Windows 10 built with one specific purpose: to take on Google Chromebooks in the education market. Education is an important area for Microsoft, and with Windows 10 Cloud, the Redmond giant plans to take back the education industry by storm.
This is everything we know about Windows 10 Cloud so far.
It's locked to the Windows Store
The biggest difference between this edition of Windows 10 and the other editions is that Windows 10 Cloud is locked to the Windows Store for all apps and games. That means downloading programs from the web won't work on this edition of Windows, because Windows 10 will simply refuse to install software unless it's from the Windows Store.
There's no way to turn this function off on Windows 10 Cloud, because it is designed specifically for the added security. You could upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, which subsequently would enable the ability to install programs from outside the Windows Store, but that would no longer be Windows 10 Cloud.
It looks like Windows 10
On the surface, it isn't immediately clear that Windows 10 Cloud is different than any other version of Windows 10. It looks just like any other edition of Windows 10 available on the market today, apart from the fact that it has a slightly different default wallpaper when setting up for the first time.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it means users will be familiar with the Windows experience no matter what version of Windows 10 they're using. This is especially beneficial for students, who Windows 10 Cloud is mostly aimed at.
It's a little more secure
Because app installers can't execute from outside the Windows Store, you're technically more secure. You won't get any rogue installers installing malware behind your back, because they simply don't run on this edition of Windows 10. Everything in the Windows Store is (for the most part) safe, being screened by Microsoft's own app approval system before being available in the Store for download.
It's not a 'lite' version of Windows
There's a common misconception that because Windows 10 Cloud is locked to the Windows Store, it's technically a "lite" version of Windows 10. That's not true, because it still has the ability to run full Win32 programs much like any other edition of Windows 10. As long as the software is available in the Windows Store, it'll run on Windows 10 Cloud.
That means if Google decides to put Chrome in the Windows Store, Windows 10 Cloud users will be able to use Chrome. If Adobe puts Premiere Pro in the Windows Store, it'll work on Windows 10 Cloud, too. This is a full version of Windows, the only difference is the fact that it's bound to the Windows Store for all your apps and games.
It's not really a 'Cloud OS'
Although it's called Windows 10 "Cloud", it's actually not any different than your normal editions of Windows 10. There's no real "cloud" element to this version of Windows 10, outside of the usual OneDrive sync support. It's possible that Microsoft will push OneDrive on you a little more often on a Windows 10 Cloud machine, but apart from that there's no real difference in cloud features between Windows 10 Cloud and Windows 10 Home or Pro.
Office is a big part of Windows 10 Cloud
Microsoft will likely push the full version of Microsoft Office 2016 on Windows 10 Cloud, if the fact that Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2016 and OneNote being pinned to the Start menu by default is anything to go by. The apps aren't installed by default, but clicking the pinned tiles will take you to the Store to download them.
Considering Windows 10 Cloud can't run programs from outside the Store, this means Microsoft will be bringing the full version of Office to the Windows Store as Centennial apps, which is super exciting. This also means you won't be limited to the "Office Mobile" version of the apps.
It'll (probably) be free for hardware makers
It's likely the case that Microsoft will offer Windows 10 Cloud as a free version of Windows 10 for hardware makers to preload onto low-end devices, or maybe even high-end ones if the hardware maker chooses. This way, hardware makers can keep the costs of low-end devices super low, making them more affordable to consumers overall.
It's the same strategy that Microsoft introduced back in the Windows 8.1 days, with an edition called Windows 8.1 with Bing. The Bing edition was basically no different than the normal versions of Windows 8.1, outside of the fact that hardware makers had to set Bing as the default search engine in Internet Explorer. It was a free edition for hardware makers, meaning you found it mostly on low-end, super affordable devices. The same will likely happen with Windows 10 Cloud.
What are you expecting?
Microsoft will likely officially unveil Windows 10 Cloud on May 2, alongside new Surface hardware, at its upcoming spring event.
What are you expecting Microsoft to showcase with Windows 10 Cloud? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.