Microsoft plans to release its new Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of Windows and Devices for the company, confirmed on Tuesday.
Launched at the beginning of May with a starting price of $999, the device currently ships with Windows 10 S, a new restricted version of the platform that forces users to install only Windows 10 apps sold through the Windows Store. However, offering models with the full-blown Windows 10 experience was always Microsoft’s “long-term direction.”
“We had to start somewhere,” Mehdi said. “The Surface Laptop, that was the right time to introduce the operating system. We had it on some low-end devices, and we wanted to put it on a premium machine to show the future. We don’t just think of it as a Chrome operating system. This is full-fledged.”
Microsoft is currently addressing the mobile computing market with three solutions — the detachable 2-in-1 (Surface Book), the standard 2-in-1 (Surface Pro), and the clamshell notebook (Surface Laptop). Of the three, the Surface Laptop is the only unit with Windows 10 S installed right out of the box. According to Mehdi, that will eventually change, although specific dates are unknown for now.
Mehdi indicated that Microsoft is in the planning stages of selling the Surface Book with Windows 10 S. There’s talk that Microsoft may be doing the same with the Surface Pro, but Mehdi didn’t mention or confirm Windows 10 S on that model. In fact, the latest model rolled out on Tuesday with no Windows 10 S in sight, but rather Windows 10 Pro instead.
With Windows 10 S, Microsoft is targeting a market dominated by Chromebooks. Laptops sporting the new platform start at $189, and are manufactured by Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung, and Toshiba. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop serves the high-end education market, similar to what Google did with its high-quality Chromebook Pixel laptops.
Windows 10 S is touted as a highly optimized platform that runs exceptionally well on low-end hardware. Yet the Surface Laptop is nowhere near the low-end spectrum, packing either the Intel Core i5-6300U or Core i7-6600U seventh-generation processor, up to 16GB of system memory, up to 512GB of storage, and a 13.5-inch screen with a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution.
From a customer standpoint, there should be no problems in Microsoft selling the Surface Book and Surface Pro devices with Windows 10 S. Heck, the latest Surface Pro (5) has a starting price of $800 and begins with the seventh-generation Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor, 4GB of system memory, 128GB of storage, and a 12.3-inch screen with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution.
Again, Mehdi didn’t say exactly when Microsoft will sell its sparkly new Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, nor did he indicate when the Surface Book will ship with Windows 10 S. But they’re on the board, and customers could see these solutions on Microsoft’s online retail space and in its brick-and-mortar stores before the end of the year.