Showing posts with label Windows 10. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows 10. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Thoughts on Windows 10 S

Microsoft officially announced a version of Windows 10 to, primarily, take-on Chromebooks in the education sector. Windows 10 S is centred on the Edge Browser, Office 365 applications and the Microsoft Store. The goal is to target schools with a simplified operating system that is secure, easier to maintain and whose performance is not compromised with low-cost hardware.

It is understandable, in the education sector, to maintain security, to lock laptops to known sources to simplify maintenance. Outside education general users may find the operating system restricting but I still think there remains a substantial user-base that will choose Windows 10 S. Windows 10 S works better with entry level hardware (specifically with smaller storage) and the popularity of a capable entry-level laptop, as demonstrated with the HP Stream range, could mean many users find their needs better met, considering the limitations of low-end hardware, by adopting Windows 10 S.

However, the same case cannot be made with higher end hardware. Other than the Surface, which offers a free upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, there will be a $50 fee to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The problem is that I cannot see a significant demand to opt for a more restricted operating system, on mid-range to high-end hardware, when a device's specification is capable of running Windows 10 Pro with no compromises. The added fee might further put-off users that view it an unnecessary cost to a machine that is expected, for its price category, to do more.

Even in the entry-level category, Microsoft might struggle against Chromebooks, whether in the education sector or beyond. Compared to the Edge browser, Chrome offers a richer catalogue of applications and extensions. Further, a wider selection of applications is further extended, compared to the Windows Store, with the gradual rolling out of Google Play to more Chromebooks.

To make Windows 10 S work in the entry-level category, the main issue is if Microsoft can get third-party developers to develop applications to enhance the Microsoft Store. There is the possibility that Microsoft might revive 'Project Centennial' - a project aiming to renew the desktop PC - through converting desktop apps to universal apps that may be accessed via the Windows Store. Continuum is another example of Microsoft aiming to push the continuity of applications from the traditional desktop to other devices in a PC connect era. At this moment, however, Chrome OS and its gradual integration with Google Play, is the better option in both education and cloud-centric computing.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Microsoft's version of Chrome OS

Microsoft has a tendency to be one step behind and then try to catch up. Not long ago Microsoft ran advertisements that rubbished the idea of Chromebooks. Microsoft’s response to Chromebooks may be seen in, for example, the HP Stream range i.e. to offer Windows 10 on low end hardware. However, while these laptops are functional, with some frustration with the low RAM and storage, the streamlined Chrome OS remains better suited to low-end PC hardware. I previously posted on the need, in this PC connect age, to differentiate operating systems to meet different use-case scenarios. Google understood this early on when they released their first Chromebooks in 2011, despite being ridiculed by some, at the time, for releasing a ‘glorified web browser’.

Microsoft, finally, appear to catch-on with the release of a cloud OS version of Windows. From the information provided this is a version of Windows made specifically for low-end laptops and will come with Office applications, the Microsoft Store and One Drive support built-in. The difference between Windows Mobile and this cloud version of Windows is that it will come with desktop-lite versions of these applications. I think this new operating version of Windows will be an in-between operating system comparable to Chrome OS. However, Chromebooks have developed since their first release, with access to the Google Play now being gradually rolled out. Again, Microsoft will have to catch-up – not only will they need to beef-up the Edge browser to measure-up against the Chrome Store but will also have to increase the catalogue of applications available through the Microsoft Store to at least compare, in some way, with Google Play. At the moment, many of the popular applications are absent from the Microsoft Store.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Alcatel Onetouch Pixi 3 introduces Windows 10 Mobile for tablets

Alcatel Onetouch Pixi 3, in my opinion, is one of the more interesting tablets introduced at CES 2016. It is a Windows tablet that runs, for the first time, Windows 10 Mobile. This is the same operating system that you get with Microsoft's Lumia phones and the LTE support means the Pixi 3 can also make phone calls. Windows 10 Mobile is a better platform for tablets (sizes between 7 - 9 inches), as it runs very well with mobile based processors and requires less processor power compared to Android. Further, what makes this the right direction is that Windows tablets, running the desktop operating system, tend to retail with 32GB storage, which is limited for full Windows 10; on the other hand, these restrictions do not apply to Windows 10 Mobile. Also, the desktop no longer takes up resources and this means, as noted, far better performance with Intel based Atom based processors.

However, there remains the problem in regards to a lack of applications, in comparison to Android or iOS, but this is also the case with the Windows Store available through the desktop version of Windows 10. Another concern would be with the translation of productivity applications, specifically Office 365, from the Windows 10 Desktop, to Windows 10 Mobile. Here the issue becomes the development of some form of continuity and differentiation of Windows 10 Mobile between smartphones and tablets, with the latter requiring more feature rich productivity applications. Even with these shortcoming, Alcatel's move to adopt Windows 10 Mobile for tablets should be the way forward if Windows 10 is to be a serious alternative to Android in the budget range of tablets.