Microsoft has formally confirmed the various editions of Windows 10 it plans to launch this summer, including the news that the Windows Phone brand is being ditched in favour of a return to Windows Mobile.
Developed under the codename Windows Threshold and designed to represent the last traditional release cycle of the operating system as Microsoft moves to a rolling-release method, Windows 10 is due to launch for smartphones, tablets, PCs and embedded devices this summer. In a blog post
made late yesterday, Microsoft's Tony Prophet revealed the editions which will make up Windows 10 as a whole: Home, Mobile, Pro, Enterprise, Education, Mobile Enterprise, and embedded variants to include IoT Core.
'Windows 10 Home is the consumer-focused desktop edition,
' Prophet explained. 'It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s.
' The Home build will be standard for consumer-facing devices, and include the majority of the new features of the OS: the voice-activated Cortana digital assistant, Microsoft Edge - formerly Spartan - as its web browser, Continuum support so tablets can shift between desktop and mobile modes on-the-fly; face, iris and fingerprint security capabilities through Windows Hello, and a raft of Windows Unversal applications pre-installed.
Windows 10 Pro, by contrast, is aimed at the same devices but includes features designed to 'meet the diverse needs of small businesses.
' Although Microsoft has not yet detailed exactly what these features are, it has suggested that the majority will centre around device management, encryption, and cloud integration - much the same as current Pro-editions of Windows 8.1. 'Windows 10 Pro also lets customers take advantage of the new Windows Update for Business,
' Prophet added, 'which will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis.
The top-end edition will be Windows 10 Enterprise, Prophet explained, 'adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organisations
' to include improved security, greater deployment flexibility, and 'comprehensive device and app management
.' Available through volume licensing, Windows 10 Enterprise will include a Long Term Servicing (LTS) branch, which is designed for mission-critical applications and comes with the promise of extended support.
Finally for traditional devices, Windows 10 Education is a variant of Windows 10 Enterprise built for school use. Available exclusively through Microsoft's academic licensing programme, schools and students currently using Windows 10 Home or Pro will have, Prophet has claimed, an upgrade path available to them.
For smartphones, Windows 10 will officially kill the Windows Phone brand in favour of bringing back the classic Windows Mobile nomenclature. Windows 10 Mobile, Prophet explained, will include a touch-optimised version of Microsoft Office as standard, along with the same Universal Apps as Windows 10 Home. Continuum will also be supported 'on some devices
,' allowing certain smartphones to connect to external devices and act as a desktop machine - a feature promised, but not yet delivered, by Canonical as part of its Ubuntu Edge campaign.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is, as the name suggests, a volume-licensed variant of Windows 10 Mobile for businesses. 'It offers the great productivity, security and mobile device management capabilities that Windows 10 Mobile provides, and adds flexible ways for businesses to manage updates,
' explained Prophet. 'In addition, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will incorporate the latest security and innovation features as soon as they are available.
The final variants are designed for embedded use and will include the as-yet undetailed Windows 10 Embedded and Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) Core, the latter of which is already available as a preview release for devices including the Raspberry Pi 2 and Intel Galileo.
Windows 10 is due to launch in summer, and will mark the last 'full' release of Windows with future editions coming as rolling updates - including an update already scheduled for the autumn, bringing ' ongoing innovation and security updates for their Windows 10 devices, including more advanced security and management capabilities for businesses.
' Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and higher users for the first year.