What is Microsoft's 'Windows Lite' OS, and who will it be for?

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Talk of a new, lightweight version of Windows has been making the rounds since late last year, after references to "Windows Lite" popped up inside one of the many Windows Insider Preview builds that are regularly released. It didn't take long for the first report to break out detailing Windows Lite. From there, we learned that Windows Lite is going to be Microsoft's Chrome OS competitor ... just like Windows 10 S was, except for real this time.

Will Windows Lite be right for you?

Image credit: 9to5google

So this begs the question, who exactly will this "Windows Lite" be for? Microsoft's previous efforts in trying making a version of Windows 10 for the Chrome OS market has come up short. The difference with Windows Lite is that it severs all ties with what we come to expect from a "Windows" product, so much so that rumors suggest Microsoft won't even call it "Windows" when it gets announced officially.

One of Microsoft's most significant problems with trying to branch out with Windows is that the "Windows" brand comes with so much baggage and expectations from customers. A customer looking to buy a Windows device is likely expecting to be able to run programs like Google Chrome and lots of other Win32 applications that aren't in the Microsoft Store. For Microsoft to have even the slimmest chance of making an OS that is locked down like Chrome OS or iOS, it needs to sever ties with the Windows brand.

Doing this opens the door to much more than averting app availability expectations, it also lets Microsoft experiment and venture into new territory when it comes to user experience. Windows users come to expect a familiar taskbar and start button combo, and straying too far from that experience causes problems for users. Case in point: Windows 8. Not calling the new version Windows should help Microsoft break away from this. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Microsoft push things like Windows Sets first on Windows Lite, for example.

Forget Windows 10 S, Microsoft needs a true 'lite' version of Windows

Back to our initial question, who is Windows Lite for? Simply put, it's for people who don't need full Windows devices. It's for the same people who are looking at the iPad with iOS and thinking Yeah, I can do what I need to do with something like that. Same for the people buying Chrome OS devices. Microsoft is going straight for that market, which I like to call the "light computing" market. Light computing is a device and OS experience that's designed to get out the way and cater to the very basic needs of most people using a laptop or tablet.

Not everyone needs a platform with decades of legacy support. They need to write an essay in a word processing app, listen to music through their favorite music-streaming service, and chat with friends on any number of social networks. This is the use case for a large percentage of PC users. Windows 10 is overkill for this. Chrome OS is slowly gaining market share, as audiences come to realize that a lightweight platform is all they need. iPad has been doing this from the beginning.

What else might Windows Lite mean?

Of course, Windows Lite is also very likely going to be a massive player in Microsoft's education strategy, which has also seen Chrome OS thunder-in at full power. Microsoft cannot lose the education market to Chrome OS and iOS, but Windows 10 itself isn't enough to compete in this industry anymore. Many schools want a locked down platform that's straightforward and easy to maintain. While you can lock down Windows 10 today, I wouldn't exactly call it "easy to maintain."

The web is also a huge part of Windows Lite. I'm told it very much prioritizes web experiences with deep ties into the OS. I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft advertise Windows Lite PCs as devices that come with Office for free, and by Office, I mean Office web apps. Microsoft is already starting to pin the web versions of Office to the Start menu on the latest Windows 10 in 19H1 builds, so I believe it has plans to push them at full force on Windows Lite.

Windows Lite and Office Online will compete together in the education market.

Windows Lite is just as much about competing with Chrome OS as it is competing with Google Docs. Chrome OS and Google Docs are tied together nicely, and I fully expect to see the same with Windows Lite and Office Online. Microsoft doesn't want to lose out to Google Docs. Google Docs is easy because it's free, and available anywhere. Schools love it, and businesses love it, too. While Microsoft also has a version of this with Office, it isn't as widely known.

Windows Lite is for casual users, people in education, and the light computing crowd. If you're someone who checks email, writes essays, makes presentations, listens to music, watches Netflix, and browses Reddit, then Windows Lite, just like Chrome OS and the iPad, is for you. It's a version of Windows that's trying very hard to not be Windows, and I'm interested to see how far Microsoft takes this idea.

With a new generation now growing up with Chrome OS and iPads, it's essential for Microsoft to stay relevant. Whether you like it or not, there is a market for lightweight computing devices. Chrome OS and iOS on the iPad are perfect examples of this. Microsoft needs to have something to compete in this market, and that's where Windows Lite comes in.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Thank you for explaining who Windows 10S is for.
  • Erm... I meant Windows Lite of course...
  • Customer expects to run chrome? Really.
    So why doesn't customer expect to run chrome on chrome?
  • They do and do.
  • numbers state different though.
  • As much as it's known that bleached has an unpopular opinion on this site, I don't think there is any number that shows ppl who buy chrome devices do not expect to use Chrome
  • What numbers? Chrome useage on Windows is massive.
  • Massive because their internet explorer was hacked by Nudella's friends at Google and replaced with chrome when users opened Gmail.
  • WTF are you talking about? Bleached is often wrong, but not about this.
  • Google certainly have no shame when it comes to getting pretty much every small app maker to stealth-install chrome when you install their crappy little apps though.
    Ask almost anyone why they installed Chrome and they'll inevitably say that it just turned up one day, I didn't install it deliberately.
    Google are scum, imagine of MS did this on every OSX/iOS or android device. But because its google, the world's largest ad agency, apparently its all fine and dandy.
  • I have to completely agree. My sister, aunt and grandmother all have no clue what the Chrome browser is and how it ended up on their computers.
  • Edge OS?? lll
  • I was f* with you m8 😂 But I actually had someone debating with me about using Firefox on Chrome OS for some reason. I was laughing the whole time because if anybody, me included, buy Chrome OS is to use Chrome and related apps.
  • If you do any work with .gov or .mil websites, you pretty much need Edge, IE, Firefox, AND Chrome to be able to view all of the content. I remember one OPM website in particular where you needed to access the welcome page with IE to use their 'virtual keyboard' and your cert, but any of their web apps had to reloaded into Edge or Firefox in order to work. To do a normal day's work, I would have to bounce back nad forth between 3 different browsers.
  • Absolutely, that's why Google today mostly don't build anything new, they drag tech advancement down using dirty lilo tricks.
  • I just don't want Microsoft to give up the idea of "one Windows to rule them all" and to the Apple route of having several different and separate operating systems to maintain and develop. I'll be the first to agree that Windows needs to evolve and be far more flexible, but Microsoft needs to fix, well, Windows before they launch a whole new OS with different goals and abilities. I still like the idea of a Windows that is flexible and intelligent in that you only get the parts of Windows you need (i.e. if you need an ultra portable tablet for light work Windows strips out all legacy support and becomes light and efficient) with a UI that confirms and shifts accordingly. But to do this Microsoft needs a consistent design, they need Windows Update to work entirely in the background without interrupting our work flows, they need Windows to work reliably on even low end hardware, and they need to commit to their OS and their platform. They also need to take integration with their services even farther.
  • They aren't giving up the one windows to rule them all. The modular windows/nt/core initiative is still the same. But ui/ux is about giving the RIGHT ppl what they need and you have to take modern trends into account. Light os is giving people the parts of the os that lightweight computing users need. But ms also needs to take the advantage of the elbow room they create when building a "new" os... Which is really just a new experience, to go with modern computing trends and break free from the cons of legacy support. And has far as their services, ms is really starting to get interoperability done right.
  • no big deal.
  • They been trying to have people use their UWP platform for years. I think this is the version they envision people will use in the future and are training the kids to do it. I don't think it is a bad idea from a business standpoint. Basically f* Win32 legacy framework. Welcome UWP
  • The only problem with this theory is that they've basically driven off UWP developers with pitchforks in the last 3 years. Are there any left?
  • Xbox: UWP (appxupload would've been more precise?).
    PC with ARM cpu: UWP is a more viable option.
    AR, MR: UWP.
    IOT: UWP. PC, you can use traditional *exe installer.
    But if you are an indie or freshman, one who's not working for Adobe or any other enterprise that own legacy codes and distribution network already.
    1) You need a website hosting installer, introduce your product, etc.
    2) You need advertisement.
    3) You need server hosting all the licensing and stuff,
    4) Fight cyber-attacks
    5) Do your own crack-proof
    6) Must not give user a clean uninstallation
    7) (Optional) Run your own background-service, pulling messages, checking updates, etc.
    8) Skip AR, MR, IOT, Xbox, ARM PC.
    9) Need catch up(?) Need to support older APIs.
    10) etc, etc.
  • Clearly the job is too big for them to handle. Like the old saying jack of all trades, master of none, one windows for all does nothing well, arguably does nothing right. Fork one windows.
  • Will webe able to have it on an existing device like a surface go?
  • Nope. New device experiences require new devices.
  • That's not been my experience with Windows devices.
  • If they aren't calling their new platform Windows, maybe it is time to change the name of this site to Micrsoft Central. Now would have been a good time with the logo update.
  • Yeah.. It would be good
  • bleached Have you considered actually going into brand management? That way, you'd have a job, and because of the time commitment that would imply, we'd see a lot less if your high-concept, passive-aggressive trolling-through-branding-suggestions. A win-win, really.
  • 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 He's in a wheelchair. He can't work
  • Um... Rodney... C'mon now
  • Why are you insulting people in wheelchairs? First women and now people who are physically challenged? You should be banned for hate speech.
  • Please, Bleached. Just log out already. Do I have to remind you?
  • Bleached: "Your track record isn't that stellar. Your site is always arguing that Windows whatever isn't dead until it is." Daniel Rubino: "So leave. No one is asking you to stay, in fact I'll gladly show you the way out. Since our track record isn't stellar, not sure why you hang around at all. Let me be clear: I'm asking you 100 percent to leave our site, never return and leave our bad judgements in your past".... Wed. Jan 23, 2019 7:32pm
  • What's wrong with you?
  • lol, well done
  • You would not be so angry if I was wrong.
  • I have a great job (which coincidentally has included some branding) and have been a Microsoft/Windows fan for over 20 years now. Send a handful of comments during breaks and lunch doesn't take that much time. Sorry you don't like my opinion, but it is very realistic. This is an obvious move, Windows won't be front and center for Microsoft forever.
  • Just stop. Everyone here knows you couldn't get past the first interview at Burger King. What's your job? What type of work do you do? Please. I bet you won't answer, because you're ashamed.
  • wonder the same.
  • Stfu troll... Daniel already told you your advice not only doesn't mean ****, but it's not wanted. He speaks for everyone here.
  • > He speaks for everyone here. Not to side with anyone, including bleached... but, if what you say is true, what would be the point of open comment section?
  • Daniel said it, not Rodney.
  • You do come across as a naturally born contrarian :) I did quote the specific sentence from the specific post by the specific poster. Why did you feel the need to correct me?
  • Bleached needs to read this ^.
    This is a perfect example of what I told bleached earlier, further down below if bleached has a hard time understanding what I'm attempting to convey to him.
  • I didn't say speaks for everyone here about everything.. But, when Daniel ask Bleached to leave this site he in fact was speaking for EVERYONE HERE!
  • This article is already proving me right, don't you get it? If Microsoft starts moving away from Windows, which seems to be the case, then the name of this site doesn't make sense much longer. If you think Daniel's outburst was even remotely professional, I don't know what to tell yup. Obviously he is frustrated with Microsoft, as every Microsoft blogger is, and taking it out on me as if it is my fault. I am just pointing out obvious stuff his fanboy side won't let him acknowledge.
  • If it's HIS fan boy site, he can name it whatever he chooses. THIS isn't needed from you...
  • Bleached afraid to confront Daniel after he showed him the front door. Smdh boy you can't be human.
  • No, he does not; for you maybe because...
    "Similis *** similibus" Definitely not for me.
  • Again? Really, bleached? If you need confirmation that we've read it the previous time you typed the same thing, here it is. So now, you no longer have to do this... Again. Ok?
  • Sorry, so many irrational haters, hard to not say "I told you so."
  • As a emotional intelligence expert, I have to share with you that hate almost always has nothing to do with rational and almost everything to do with justification. So the "irrational haters" isn't why the people here have a problem with you commenting. It's your impulsive rebellious nature you constantly present in the unneeded times that rub people wrong. You've presented arguments that are more or less "correct" in the past but your execution is what annoys people.
  • I mean, the guy's been saying for years that Microsoft needs to move on from Windows and do something new... And honestly, this site has less and less to do with Windows by the day.
  • My comment that you're replying to has less to do with Ms and/or windows and more to do with his relationship with the community here or did you miss my point?
  • He's just another idiotic troll that's hard to reason with. Anyone here that takes up for a troll is more, or less, a troll themself.
  • Wait a minute. Did you juat call someone "irrational"????
    Do you even know what that means? If you did you definitely wouldn't be using that on anyone else.. And, did you just use the word "hater"???? You've lost your marbles for sure. Please take Daniel's advice.
  • Wow you're still on this? Just give up already, no one likes you.
  • The real question is what is the difference between windows 10s and "windows Lite"?
  • Hopefully almost everything. I imagine Lite would look and operating totally unlike Windows. It would not make sense otherwise.
  • What if the design choice looked and ran like Microsoft Launcher on Android, with the Bing desktop wallpapers, and everything? Except, it had some desktop tweaks here and there to make it work on mouse/keyboard. Wouldn't that be something...
  • You're close kinda
  • I would expect that Windows only UWP that been rumored for years.
  • "The real question is what is the difference between windows 10s and "windows Lite"?"
    It looks different. Has familiar UI to Windows users, but it's a cleaner, more minimal Windows. Looking at the two you wouldn't confuse them for being the same e.g. Windows 8 and Windows RT, which did look alike. This is not that. Runs just UWP apps; older Win32 likely emulated and/or streamed.
  • > Runs just UWP apps; older Win32 likely emulated and/or streamed. Daniel, can you, by any chance, elaborate on how the things in the statement above are different from WIndows 10S?
  • Serious questions, but considering the nature of such question, idk if you can answer but here goes... Under nda, are you not allowed to talk about the nda? Are you under nda at all with talking about windows lite or are you more so being sensitive about what and what not to say to protect your sources? Edit... Actually, I suppose I should have emailed you or dm you. Cancel this
  • TBF, with the advent UWP and WASM, Future OSes are more likely to be more like Chrome and less like Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, or even Linux. There have even been some compiling old x86 apps into WASM with almost no changes and they run just fine in a browser. OS agnostic APIs that blur the line between native and web are the future of computing. I can imagine that all hardware vendors will have their own OS, much like Apple does, but it will WASM/PWA centric. They may or may not still have an app store even, regardless APP Gap will be a thing of the past. I believe this will happen very soon, like 5 years or so. It is really a disruptive technology.
  • "Win32 likely emulated?" When considering the OS Model of Windows itself, why do you think Win32 would be emulated? It sounds like, and would make more sense, for Win32 to become a 'secondary' subsystem OS. This would allow Win32 software to run seamlessly and get additional isolation protection. This would also allow running Win32 software and the Win32 kernel as needed. If the current core developers haven't abandon the brilliance of NT, the logical progression is to create a new 'main' subsystem, instead of Win32 being the main subsystem. Microsoft can create a fast/lite/new and pure OS without any legacy trappings, and still allow the Win32 subsystem to load and run dynamically, and also would reduce the footprint of Win32 by being very granular as it no longer has to act as the hosting subsystem for Graphics, communication, I/O, etc. This is the best of all worlds, new OS technology, still on NT, and Win32 still available for software, but lighter and faster than it is now. Maybe it is the term 'emulation' that seems odd. Windows NT can provide native support of additional OSes with minimal kernel 'translation' - which is far different from 'emulation'. (Which even basic users notice/see with the current Linux Subsystem, just as it is much more apparent when the older OS subsystems existed like POSIX, OS/2, etc.) Just to be clear for everyone reading here. 'Windows aka the Win32 OS' is not NT, and is itself running as a subsystem with its own kernel in that subsystem. What makes Windows NT, 'Windows' is that the Win32 OS subsystem is currently the primary subsystem, that also has the responsibility of the primary subsystem, adding to its complexity as it currently exists.
  • Is this going to be a failure like the windows phone? for a windows lite or S for that matter to take off, it needs better apps in the store.
  • "Is this going to be a failure like the windows phone?" Yes "For a windows lite or S for that matter to take off, it needs better apps in the store" UWP has been pretty much a failed experiment (less generously you could call it a disaster).
    Microsoft will not come out and admit this publicly - expect a tweet in a couple of years explaining how it is "not our focus right now"... Windows Central will then explain how the complete failure of UWP is actually a good thing as it paves the way for Satya's next big idea... Meanwhile billions of people will continue using their "Pocket PCs with telephony" running Android and iOS and ignore Microsoft's failures.
  • Hopefully emulated, which would only be a good thing. I would buy a device that runs it, specially if it's an ARM device. Maybe there is a Surface sporting the ARM processor that will use this OS. I would buy it and discard the iPad to a Dev only machine
  • A Surface device that is running ARM + Windows Lite would be a logical direction
  • "Runs just UWP apps" => How about PWA apps?
  • Super interested. I'm positive 🙂
  • Do what google does and call it EdgeOS
  • Can't. Edge isn't uwp... Or won't be really soon
  • FluentOS Put in all the shiny stuff. I just hope when they finally release their 'totally not a phone' device, it will have more in common with real windows than some app appliance.
  • I vote for MicrosoftOS
  • First you have to call it something inspirational. No one wants to buy the "Lite edition" product. You could call it "Fast edition" but we know that wont be true. Maybe just tell the truth and call it "Cut down and running on junky cheaped out hardware edition"
  • Ios runs on arguably the most powerful mobile processor rivaling desktop processors in some aspects. Not only that but Chrome runs on I processors as well. What makes you think this would only run on cheap hardware when we already know it's run hardware priced in the thousands?
  • Not sure what your point is... you do not need Lite version of anything to run on the expensive hardware -- Dark?/Heavy? Windows does today reasonably well (for some definitions of "well" anyway").
  • My point is we don't need ANYTHING running on bad hardware and so I question why he thinks it would or anyone should use cheap janky hardware at all. Lite, which is a codename, doesn't translate to less powerful. Is that clear enough for you?
  • Windows Turbo or Turbo OS?
  • At first, in like ew, but then remembered that Ms is cheesy enough to do this, making your comment a really good guess actually lol
  • "Aperture" is a nice synonym for "Windows".
  • make this for raspberie would be verry nice :)
  • Give me a consumer Windows version thats clean as a fresh Windows 7 install. No telemetry, ads, suggestions, stupid useless crap like candy crush, and no forcing useless half baked uwp apps on to me...
  • There are devices Power users need and devices that people who are not power users can
    use that do not have all the things Power users need. I myself could get by using a Surface Go
    most of the time but to do more powerful programs I fire up my Intel i5 CPU Desktop
    computer or my old Dell Intel i7 CPU Laptop PC. in fact a Surface "Go" 2nd Generation model
    with a better CPU more ram & better Battery life would almost cause my 2 other PC's to gather
    dust. Microsoft Tablets for instance do not need all the internal drivers, DLLs ect a Decktop
    PC or a Desktop Replacement powerful Laptop PC has. this new OS wopuld be great for them
    If this New Windows lite can still download drivers it does not have, Dlls it needs ect to perform
    an task. then it is a great OS because it will operate and use what it needs to perform a task
    & have no extra Software it does not need
    ' pc
  • "Many schools want a locked down platform that's straightforward and easy to maintain. While you can lock down Windows 10 today, I wouldn't exactly call it easy to maintain." But many businesses and end users want that too. What's strange is that Microsoft's approach is to make a whole new version of their OS rather than just fix the current mess that requires two major feature updates a year with all the headaches those bring. Is a new mechanism for feature updates that doesn't have the potential to break everything really that much to ask for? Also let's be real, with Windows 10 S, the re-emergence of Windows on ARM, Core OS on the horizon and now this, Microsoft seems determined to confuse the hell out of their potential customers. I've seen many comments saying "is this the new Windows RT?" to the first two of those, and while S mode can be turned off and Windows on ARM does allow emulated 32-bit win32 apps, Lite is looking very much like the actual new RT. And we all know how that worked out last time.
  • Those users are getting that. It's called Windows 10. Surprise! You, or the users you're referring to don't care about all of those "different" products. The only ones who get confused are half-hearted tech nerds bc they are really different. Why would someone mixed up woa with w10s, lite, or rt? Take still shots of all of these and put them next to each other. One is "invisible" bc it's just w10 and the rest are CLEARLY different. The only ppl who care AND struggle and say we did this before are ms enthusiasts who don't really know what they are talking about... The type that comment on a lot of products but was never going to buy or use them anyway but still criticize
  • Thanks for telling me what you think I or other people do or don't know, or telling us that we're wrong in what we want from a consumer OS, but I'll stick with what I've already stated thank you very much. And regarding OS confusion, that's based on many posts I've seen across a number of different social media platforms as well as conversations I've had in person. I can assure you they definitely weren't "half-hearted tech nerds" (whoever that's supposed to be describing?) and that they were obviously all Windows users (either current or prospective) so the notion that they were "never going to buy or use them anyway" is a little ludicrous. Do you often find people asking questions about products they'd never intend to buy?! I get that you're defensive, but I really don't see many people claiming the current situation with feature updates is ideal. It really isn't, hence the complaints. Trying to claim that isn't true or that users are criticising for no reason isn't going to change that.
  • How is it different from Windows RT. Except you have a familiar interface that of Windows 7.
    With WinRT you could do all casual stuffs like browsing, Netflix, casual editing on word.
    All you needed was support for web apps.
    Perhaps it only had two issues:
    1. People finding difficult to adopt live tiles and new interface
    2. APPS WinLite fixes point 1. We loose a good UI to plain old static icons. Still better than big screen with grid of icons. (CHROME OS still looks better than ios app launcher) But what about point 2? Even chrome os is plagued with it. Since chrome has comfort of google, people still consider it. But will it be same with Windows? Or it will be just like Windows phone?
  • Windows Lite will not only run UWP but PWA and with them adapting the Blink engine a lot of Chrome apps could work on Windows Lite. Even if they don't they are using the Blink Engine so in the end aside from some libraries most of the code of one app could be used in either OS.
  • My window lite is a 386 with windows 2.0
  • You should really upgrade your experience with an Intel 486DX4 microprocessor
  • No no, this is not the middle ages. He should go Cyrix PR 133+...
  • It is why Windows 8 failed, they called it Windows. I have been saying that from the start. At the time using the Live brand would not have been a bad idea.
  • All they needed to do was call it win 7 tablet edition and ppl would have been fine not knowing about the vast and huge amount of improvements 8 had over 7
  • Windows lite is for people who like operating systems that suck.
  • O. O. K.
  • Windows S reminds me of WP 7. It's not the real product Microsoft wants for the category but they don't want to wait until the "real version" is ready, so they release a stop gap. The issue is that it doesn't instill confidence in an OS if it gets replaced within a few years and when the hardware isn't compatible with the new OS. If Windows Lite is the "real" Windows S I think they would have been better off waiting.
  • Hey, WP7(.5) was great!
  • If i'm confused and my brain hurts trying to figure out the difference between Windows RT, Windows S, and now Windows Lite....the rest of my family will be even more confused...
  • Here's a solution, stop trying to figure it out before it's here. No more hurt brain. You're welcome
  • Okay, so we know who windows lite might be for, but are they going to support it enough to make it successful? I feel they've always said, "We mean it this time." But that line has become tired. Are they going to actually try to bring apps in? Like if they don't, then what's the actual point? They're just going to throw in the towel after a while. Again. They need to figure out a way to differentiate it enough that it can survive without all the apps. Like they need to make a tablet or mobile device that can exclusively play Xbox One games or make magic happen. I feel history just keeps repeating itself with all these half assed versions of windows.
  • Errr, Why not call it EDGE OS that way people don't confuse it with well say Windows Full Blown OS.
  • Bc edge won't be uwp
  • So, I'm kinda betting on this failing just like the other attempts at a streamlined Windows experience, Microsoft don't know how to do it, they need to play to their strengths instead and continue kicking arse in the areas that are doing well.
  • Edge OS
    by Microsoft
  • Soooo … this is Windows Mobile, but for tablets? Speaking as somebody who remembers when netbooks and then tablets became a thing, I predict that any "lite" version of windows is going to suffer from "expectation creep". People will start out buying it because it's cheap, and the devices are light. But they will quickly start trying to use it as a full fledged windows device. Then they will get frustrated and moan that it's not fully featured enough or the devices aren't powerful enough. Microsoft will respond either by discontinuing it (ALA Windows Phone), or by producing a more powerful\more featured version\device (ALA Microsoft Surface). This will continue until Windows Lite either vanished or becomes a function of a future version of Vanilla Windows. I've seen this happen with all kinds of devices and form factors. they either go extinct or are morphed into a more powerful mainstream device. We've already seen 7" tablets which were hailed as being the next big thing gradually more into what are essentially full laptops with detachable keyboards. That people expect to be able to photo and video editing on. Phones are now taking over from small tablets, and are the size of small tablets. Even the latest model of the Raspberry Pi has been upgraded to be able to run a full desktop OS, and has onboards things that used to be on dongles.
  • Seriously? Android and simple to maintain? There is no option to deploy Software to Android (e.g. via Matrix42 or Ivanti Avalanche and such) without having the user push a button. In addition there is no centralized user management like Active Directory, global settings are hard to enforce ...
    Noone with a clear set of mind would want to deploy and Manage more than 20 Android devices, being it in a school or enterprise.
  • As always with new product information, I'm excited for it. Having said that, this sounds exactly like what Microsoft intended with Windows RT, and then Windows 10 S. I think Microsoft fails with these more from lack of commitment and cohesive planning (i.e., not all teams within Microsoft are working toward the common goal of those new solutions succeeding) than that there was anything fundamentally wrong with them. I get the appeal. My 9-year old daughter has an inexpensive Windows 2-in-1 Surface knock-off (an Asus that cost about $300), my 6 year old son uses a Kindle Fire for Kids. As a parent helping them with their devices, I appreciate the simplicity of the Kindle compared with the Windows (but also marvel at how that $300 system is a full Windows system with a detachable tablet). Their school uses Chromebooks (to my annoyance as an MS fan). I can see why MS wants to build something simple like that for those who don't need the full power of Windows. But if market need alone drove success, RT or 10 S would have been a success. To succeed, sure Microsoft needs to architect the product offering appropriately, but they also need to commit to it. They need to "eat their own dogfood" and ensure that all relevant teams work toward its success -- all their relevant apps should support it, pair it with Xbox in some way if they want kids and gamers to want it, ensure existing services foster current product users to want to use it too, the should promote it like they believe it it (otherwise it comes across as a tentative toe-in-the-water test, making customers feel like guinea pigs), if it's going to run UWP apps then show developers how robust that is by releasing UWP versions of all applicable apps, etc. In strategic terms -- leverage their existing strengths to help it succeed and communicate that it's the future. Their failure to do that consistently is their chief source of product failure.
  • So basically Windows Lite will be like Windows Phone OS, something that worked great but people didn’t buy. It came with a free Office, could play music, videos, etc. Windows Phone was exactly that.
  • Just want two things, Android apps and telephony capabilities.
  • The obvious question is - why ? Schools can already lock up their OSes easily using imaging software, domain controllers, roaming profiles, and group policies. This isn't new. The government won't be interested. It seems that this is another Windows Home , or worse: Windows ME product. And those of who invested in Windows RT are already a little gunshy when it comes to Microsoft creating a new OS based on a new architecture. And so are the developers. The PWA apps might solve the problems that windows Mobile had , but ONLY if the developers support it. And they'll only do that if there's money in it. There has to be an endgame for Microsoft here. Windows Lite SEEMS like it would be better suited to compete in the ultrasmall computers such as Raspberry's and maybe media players. But then codec compatibility becomes an issue. Honestly, I can't think their endgame is JUST schools and education. They already own that market.
  • Have to say it's only probably will be for the education market.
  • I also hope Windows "Lite" could be an option to breath new life into older windows devices that run too slow on windows 10 home or pro. Like a more basic version of windows that would make the experience of older windows devices snappier on windows 10, without being left out due to new hardware requirements. A concrete example would be my 10 year old core 2 quad desktop (with ssd). I would like it with an optimized windows 10 "lite"with a snappy experience of windows 10 basic app utility without overexerting the processor, but still have the quad core power to do some powerhungry tasks like some photo editing and videoediting without bogging down the processor.
  • You're welcome. Never stated a word about what ppl want in a consumer os. If anything, I said ms is working on what ppl say they want. It's called Win10. Comprehension works wonders. Those "knowledgeable" users who complain are complaining about the thing they know are being developed? Yea I know... It sounds stupid when I lay out what you are saying. They aren't KNOWLEDGEABLE of the development thus the complaints in the first place. Logic doesn't require defensiveness. You misread. Luckily, I'm here to correct you.
  • I am very interested in seeing what develops with Windows Lite. You could say I was borderline obsessed with following Andromeda. But really my interest in Andromeda is not the device, but in seeing how Microsoft is going to make a 3-in-1 device (e.g. desktop, tablet, phone supporting mouse, touchpad, keyboard, touch, pen, and voice input) using a single OS. I hope Windows Lite is still going to be this OS for a 3-in-1 device of the future. For lite computing, todays technology can fit enough computing power in your pocket. And with USB-C or Thunderbolt, what fits in your pocket can become a desktop computer by docking it. This has been my obsession (I probably would enjoy having conversation with Jason Ward). My obsession has been with form factor convergence in a single device, a single OS, and a single app eco system. That would be computing bless. I am now typing this on a Surface Go by the way (and oh my goodness I love this little thing). You would almost think if they could just get it a little smaller, add telephone, and then you got an Andromeda. But I agree that Windows 10 has too much baggage for the future. Devices of the future will always be running on battery power. There is only so much power you can carry around with you. Everything will be about power efficiency. Windows 10 acts like there is an infinite supply of power. I'm like a Task Manager junkie and I see Windows 10 ramping up all kinds of processes doing who knows what. The future is a streamlined, power efficient OS, but also one that can converge form factors with a single app eco system. I will probably need "full" Windows 10 for some time. I need Visual Studio, Cubase, and full Office. Cubase might switch to UWP, but that will take awhile. I doubt Visual Studio will go UWP. There are Office UWP apps, but they have been deprecated. The Office web apps are OK, but still watered down. I would want full Office on this Windows Lite. Is Office web going to catch up? And I consider Office to fall in the "lite" computing category. My feeling is Windows Lite will still have a minimal Win32 subsystem in it. That is my guess. Win32 can be just as power efficient as any process execution model. Its more the background stuff that Windows 10 does to maintain your computer that takes up power. And people, don't worry about the apps, PWA will solve that problem. It will take time, but it will happen. I still use my Surface Go in S mode. I don't really need apps. I use the browser for nearly everything but Mail Calendar and People, MSN Weather, To-Do, Office, File Explorer, Netflix, Sling, Alarms, Calculator, Photos, Paint 3D, Maps, and Groove.
  • Question is, is this built on windows core, and cshell? And which devices will it be promoted on? A new surface like a surface go with arm? Lastly does it run win32 emulated like arm? If it meets all of these, yeah, sure I'd buy that. But I'd also like to see UI refinements and streamlined core OS elements come to windows in general. And I want to be able to run win32, at least some of the time, whilst the store fills out. iOS etc has never been quite good enough for me, because I like a full browser, full media program etc (kodi on UWP helps). I'm not that fond of being locked into mobile software, at minimum I'd want that sweet bridge stuff.
  • Personally I don't think the key to the light computing market is lightweightness. We have some very powerful processors now. I'd say it's easy of use, particular some kind of touch emphasis. I'd also say that iOS and Chrome stand out, not because they are light, but because unlike Android they are capable of running some more complex software. So I think it's kind of essential to keep some win32 compatibility, even if it's only for bridged stuff that's more likely to have a refined UI. That's MSFTs point of difference in the fight for a true 3 in 1, which is the future. The average user might not use much, but they'll still prefer the ability to have more features and power than a phone. For example you might mainly use the browser, but you'd still rather have a full desktop featured browser than a mobile phone one. You might rarely edit documents, but you'd probably still want the ability to have full office. You might listen to music in a collection, and you'd certainly rather have a proper desktop media program and not some android mobile *****. So yeah, I really thing win32 under emulation, at least for store apps, will be essential to this OSes success (as well as smart implementation of the UI). At least, I wouldn't be interested at all, and be disappointed if MFST can't see that the future isn't just mobile, but increasingly with iOS and chrome leading the way, more powerful than the Android style mobile legacy many still seem to be operating under. If that weren't the case, android tablets would be a growth market, instead of 2 in 1 windows devices.