With Windows 10 on the horizon for release this summer, I thought I’d spend a few minutes outlining the various “versions” that will be available – at least the ones I know about.
Windows 10 Mobile
This edition is for smaller tablets and smartphones. You’ll only be able to run Universal Windows Apps (installed from the Microsoft App Store.) You’ll be able to hook up a keyboard, mouse and larger display and use it like a larger device (but only with Universal Windows Apps.) I recently saw a demo of mail running on a phone hooked up to a large monitor and it looked just like the desktop version. There is a preview version of Windows 10 Mobile available (but not many people actually have a spare Windows Phone to try it on...)
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – this adds mobile device management and additional security options.
Windows 10 Home
This is what most people (outside of businesses) will use. It’s the version that PC manufacturers will pre-install and won’t be able to be joined to an AD domain. It will include Cortana (like Siri) and Continuum (switches between tablet mode and PC mode depending on what hardware is hooked up.) Some other new features will include the new Microsoft Edge browser (much faster than IE) and Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint secure login (with appropriately equipped devices.) W10 Home will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 licensed devices. This version can't be upgraded to Enterprise, below.
Windows 10 Pro
This is for business users and will include features from Home plus the ability to join an AD domain, get updates from the business (instead of directly from Microsoft) so that the updates can be validated with existing software (so that updates can be planned instead of just updating whenever the updates are released.) This is targeted at small and medium sized businesses. This version can be upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise (at additional cost.)
Windows 10 Enterprise
This one has imaging options for businesses along with long term service agreements, managed updates, etc.
Windows 10 Education
For schools. Details are sketchy, but this will likely be offered as an alternative to Chromebooks (and Macs…)
Windows 10 Embedded
Used in Point-of-Sale terminals, ATM’s, medical equipment, shop floor equipment, cars?
Windows 10 IoT
This one is for Internet of Things devices like Raspberry Pi (I’ll be showing this in TechOne), WiFi routers, gateways, etc.
If you're adventurous and have a spare Windows 7 PC lying around, you can try out the Windows 10 Consumer Preview - just sign up for the Windows Insider program at https://insider.windows.com and then download the .iso at https://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-iso. It's not terribly difficult to do and you'll get a chance to play with Windows 10 before it's released in a month or two.