While Microsoft is keeping tight lips about how many versions of Windows 10 will be available for customers, we know that there will be more than one SKU of the new operating system when it launches later this year.
When the final version of Windows 10 releases to the public there will be more than one version depending on the device and the set of features customers need access to. But one thing is certain, Microsoft will refer to all variants of the operating system as “Windows 10”, as the company noted during its January 21, press event.
With all that being said, there will be a number of Windows 10 versions (or SKUs) that the software maker will make available for different hardware.
Currently we know the Windows 10 Desktop, which is the version that runs on traditional PCs and 2-in-1 devices, such as Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo Yoga Pro 3. In February, Microsoft will be delivering another flavor, which we know as Windows 10 mobile. This version is design to run on Windows Phone with ARM hardware and on Intel and ARM processors for smaller tablets under eight inches.
The Surface Hub, Microsoft’s conferring solution, will run a custom version of Windows 10, too. Microsoft’s HoloLens, the new augmented reality glasses runs another variant of Windows 10 using Windows Holographic technology. In addition, there are a few other versions of Windows 10 embedded in development, including Windows 10 Industry and Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT).
Now, in the Windows 10 Desktop SKU, users will be allowed to run traditional programs and modern apps in the same environment without needing a separate “desktop mode” to run programs like it happened in Windows 8. The Windows 10 mobile SKU will not have the desktop mode and it will not run traditional applications, users will only be able to run Windows Store apps, which makes sense as the mobile version of the operating system will be available only on phone and small tablets.
The Windows 10 Desktop will be the version that most devices will use, as it will run on any kind hardware like its predecessor Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows XP with the advantage that it support traditional and Universal apps in either tablet mode (full screen) or desktop (windowed).
It’s early and it is still unclear how many Windows 10 editions Microsoft will release to customers. If we look to previous releases, chances are we’ll see a Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Professional, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Mobile edition, but of course, the company will not give any specifics on editions or pricing until we get closer to the launch date.
One thing is for sure, all major versions including Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 7 will be eligible to upgrade free to Windows 10 within the first year of the Windows 10 launch.