Microsoft releases new official Windows 10 details, including the editions

Much like Win7, Windows 10 will come in several flavors, including versions for enterprises, mobile, and education

Corporate VP of Windows and search marketing Tony Prophet has just announced what flavors of Windows 10 we should expect to see "this summer." (And, yes, it's still billed as "this summer.") For those of you who have been following along, here are the high points:

Windows 10 Home will (despite rumors to the contrary) ship with the new Edge browser. Home will also ship with Windows Hello, the face, iris, and fingerprint logon technology. No word on the hardware to support the features as yet, although I would speculate that Surface Pro 4 will have an inside track. Of course, Home will also support Cortana and tablet mode, so it's suitable for both mouse-centric and finger-centric machines. Prophet mentioned the usual assortment of Universal apps -- Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music, and Video. No mention of People (which hasn't yet appeared in beta). Xbox gets an expected boost, with Xbox Live support, game capture, and the ability to remotely play Xbox One games on any local network-attached Windows 10 PC.

Windows 10 Mobile (hey, we finally got a name!) is geared to phones and small tablets (though "small" isn't defined). Win10 Mobile will ship with the touch-centric Universal app version of Office (name still unannounced). Supposedly it will support Continuum, the plug-your-phone-into-your-monitor feature that Operating Systems group VP Joe Belfiore has been showing at various conferences. Belfiore has said that Continuum won't work on existing hardware, and Prophet says, "Windows 10 Mobile will enable some new devices to take advantage of Continuum for phone," leaving open the question as to whether Microsoft might have some phone announcements in that direction as well.

Windows 10 Pro sounds a lot like Home, but with corporate network hooks, much like the differentiation between Win7 and Win7 Pro. However, Prophet didn't announce any feature differences between Win10 and Win10 Pro, other than the ability to connect to Windows Update for Business. Windows 8.1 Pro currently offers gpedit, BitLocker, and several additional features that aren't in Windows 8.1, but it remains to be seen if the differentiation will continue in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Enterprise appears to be analogous to Win7 Enterprise. Again, there are no details, but if Win10 is differentiated like Win 8.1, Win10 Enterprise will include all the Win10 Pro features plus Windows To Go, BranchCache, DirectAccess, VDI, and others. Win10 Enterprise machines will have access to either Windows Update for Business or the Long Term Servicing Branch.

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise like Enterprise, but made for phones and small tablets.

Windows 10 Education like Enterprise, but for academic licensees.

There's still no description of updating for those who aren't attached to a Windows Update for Business server. And the new Universal Office app doesn't appear to be available, out of the box, on Home or Pro.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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