Microsoft releases lightweight Windows 10 S to take on ChromeOS


Microsoft unveiled a simpler and stripped-out version of Windows 10 at an event in NY yesterday.

The Surface Laptop uses a 13,5-inch touchscreen display with support for a pressure sensitive stylus, not unlike the company's other Surface products.

Australian pricing is yet to be released, but in the United States, the Surface Laptop starts at US$999 (A$1324) for a Core i5 processor system with 4GB memory and 128GB solid state storage.

The company is hopeful that this new Surface Laptop will replace the Chromebooks. The Edge browser will be the "only" default browser on Windows 10 S machines.

On the operating system front, the laptop comes with Windows 10S, a full version of the Microsoft operating system, but only running applications from the Windows store to provide a more locked down offerings. Because Windows 10 S won't let you run any software that hasn't been pre-vetted by Microsoft for the Windows Store, it means that there's a greatly reduced chance that you'll get infected by any nasty viruses or malware.

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The Surface Laptop will ship in four colours: platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue, and graphite gold.

Research firm IDC reported in April that the commercial PC market "came out strong" in the first quarter of 2017 "mostly backed by growth of Chromebooks". Even then if user wants to download the third party app, then they can do so by switching to Windows 10 Pro.

Devices powered by Windows 10 S will start at $189, which is a pretty good price. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. Microsoft Office, the full desktop versions, are coming to the Windows Store "soon", says Windows boss Terry Myerson.

In addition to a code builder for "Minecraft: Education Edition", Microsoft wrote that Office 365 for Education added Microsoft Teams, a "digital hub that encourages active learning and redefines how teachers and students learn and collaborate together", according to Microsoft.

By emphasizing such features, Microsoft is clearly taking aim at Google, whose cloud-centric Chromebooks have taken a growing chunk of the classroom computing market in the USA, as well as at Apple, whose laptops are popular among college users.