Microsoft looks set to muddy the Windows 10 waters even further with the launch of new Windows 10 versions based on the Redstone 4 variant coming in the next couple of months. If a report from Thurrott is correct, Windows 10 S, which is currently sold as a separate operating system on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop among others, will be dropped. In its place, all consumer and education PC sold from the arrival of Redstone 4 onwards will ship with a new “S Mode” as the default version of the operating system.
When it comes to SKUs, the story is quite interesting in how Microsoft sells licensing to partners. In fact, there are a total of five SKUs available for partners to utilize for consumers but they all have a defined set of parameters based on the hardware specifications.
The SKUs are Entry, Value, Core, Core+, and Advanced. On the surface, you might be thinking that Microsoft is about to go nuts with new SKUs of Windows 10 and keep in mind this is pricing for partners; further, it would not surprise me to learn that pricing is reduced as well for larger OEMs or bulk orders.
Below is a breakdown of the SKUs:
- Entry: Intel Atom/Celeron/Pentium ≤ 4GB RAM & ≤ 32GB SSD AND ≤ 14.1” screen size (NB), ≤ 11.6” (2in1, Tablet), ≥ 17” AiO
- Value: Intel Atom/Celeron/Pentium ≤ 4GB RAM & ≤64GB SSD & ≤ 14.1” screen size (EM ≤ 4GB RAM & ≤64GB SSD or ≤ 500GB HDD)
- Core: Cannot be used on devices that meet the Core+ and Advanced SKU Hardware Specifications
- Core +: High end CPU and >4 GB RAM (All Form Factors) ≥8 GB RAM & ≥1080p screen resolution (NB, 2in1, AiO) >8 GB RAM & ≥2TB HDD or SSD storage (Desktop)
- Advanced: Intel Core i9 (any configuration) OR Core i7 ≥ 6 Cores (any RAM) OR AMD Threadripper(any configuration) OR Intel Core i7 >16GB (any Cores) or AMD FX/ Ryzen7 >16GB (any Cores) OR ≥ 4K screen resolution (any processor, includes 4K UHD-3840 resolution
While the move by Microsoft might help to drive down the upfront sticker price of a Windows-based PC, it sure to create confusion and some angst among power users who would prefer to have their PC shipped with a full-blown, unadulterated version of Windows on their machines. According to Thurrott, however, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will continue to be sold separately.