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Microsoft's PC maker partners are readying some new low-end devices running Windows 10 S, which they may be marketing as suited for "frontline" service workers.
New Windows 10 S devices are coming from Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Fujitsu, starting at $275. They will be available later this year, Microsoft execs said at the company's Ignite IT Pro conference in Orlando.
Microsoft and partners will be hawking these devices as "Microsoft 365-powered." Microsoft 365 is a bundle of Windows 10, Office 365, and Microsoft's enterprise mobility and security services.
Update: Here's what Microsoft said would be coming later this year:
The HP Stream 14 Pro running Windows 10 S will be out in October for $275. Acer's Aspire 1 running 10 S will be out in the fourth quarter for $299; the Acer Swift 1 running 10 S in the fourth quarter for $349; and Lenovo's V330 running 10 S for $349 will be available in February 2018.
Microsoft also noted that, "in a future update," these Windows 10 S devices will be upgradable to something called Windows 10 Enterprise in S mode. Via this upgrade -- no price yet available -- 10 S users will be able to use Windows 10 Enterprise features like Credential Guard, Application Guard, and central Store management with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Microsoft officials said these PCs will offer self-service deployment, simpler management, and will be always up-to-date due to the way Microsoft's services are regularly and constantly updated. These Windows 10 S devices can run Store apps only and allow domain join only with Azure Active Directory (not regular Azure Directory) for cloud ID and management.
At its recent Inspire partner conference, Microsoft officials described Windows 10 S as a "mode" of Windows 10 that runs on top of Windows 10 Pro. Through March 2018, upgrading from Windows 10 S to Pro is free; after that, Microsoft will charge $49 to upgrade.
While Microsoft opted to make Windows 10 S the default operating system on its premium Surface laptops, company officials are not suggesting Windows 10 S is a premium operating system.
Even though its initial pitch for 10 S out of the gate was as an operating-system suited for education and Chromebook-compete, Windows 10 S is for business users, too, officials said. Microsoft told Inspire show attendees that 10 S is well suited for experiences like mobile-computing work, frontline user work, plus embedded usage in kiosks and signs.