On Friday, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10 to Insiders and tucked away in the build are references to a new SKU of Windows called Cloud. While the details are still coming together about the operating system, a few more bits of information have surfaced.
Windows Cloud is a version of Windows 10 that will only be able to run UWP (Unified Windows Platform) apps that are installed from the Windows Store, according to Mary Jo Foley. If this sound familiar, that’s because Windows RT functioned in a similar way. Further, it looks like ‘Cloud’ is simply just a name and this operating system, as Foley notes, has little to do with a cloud-streamed operating system.
The big question is how will Windows Cloud differentiate itself to make sure that this iteration is a success and not another black mark on the company’s attempt to streamline Windows like in the recent past.
Microsoft’s Windows Store has come up short when it comes to quality applications. The company has tried many different avenues to get developers to either bring their iOS/Android apps to the Windows Store or even port older x86 apps but so far, it has been a slow crawl forward for the Windows store.
Seeing as Microsoft wants to move to a version of Windows that will only run these apps means the store needs to fulfill all the needs of the user but that may be a tough task to achieve. For starters, based on what we know about Windows Cloud, there is no way to run Chrome, the most popular web browser, which this means that you would be required to use Edge.
The benefits of a version of Windows that only runs store apps is obvious; in theory it should be more secure, easier to service with patches and many believe that it will also cost less to license as well.
The big unknown now is if this version of Windows runs on Intel, ARM, or both. Seeing as Microsoft is launching a new Windows on Arm initiative this fall with Qualcomm, it would make sense it runs on both instruction sets.