Microsoft unveiled a new operating system today. Windows 10 S is purposely designed to appeal to educators and students. With a lighter load and full desktop apps, the company is steering a course for Google’s Chrome OS. That includes OEM hardware that will compete with Chromebooks. These devices will also be eligible for Windows 10 Pro.

While Chrome has struggled to make an impact in enterprise, it has been widely adopted in education. The cloud-based OS is light, allowing machines (Chromebooks) to be affordable.

Microsoft developers Windows 10 S to bring the same lightened OS experience, albeit with the capability of a full desktop experience. The company wants OEMs to back the platform with laptops that will compete with Chromebooks.

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These supported devices will be made by OEMs like HP and Acer and will be starting at $189. These two companies have already started advertising their laptops.

One of the limitations of Chrome is its cloud-base. Users must always be connected to use the laptop fully. Windows 10 S is different and brings full PC capabilities in terms of apps.

Attracting All Users

Microsoft envisions some customers coming from outside the education sector to the new hardware. Such affordable laptops will be appealing to many customers. With that in mind, the company is making it easy for those customers.

Anyone coming to the new Windows 10 S devices from outside education can upgrade the platform to Windows 10 Pro for $49.

The company points out that this is a one-time fee and once upgraded there is no going back to Windows 10 S.

While upgrading makes sense when buying a laptop for a couple of hundred bucks, it makes less sense for the Surface Laptop. Launched today, the laptop costs $999 and is heavily spec’d.

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