Windows 10S is, in the simplest terms, Microsoft’s Chrome OS competitor. A spiritual successor to RT, the operating system is a slimmed down version of Windows 10 with added security (by way of locked down app installs) and lower hardware requirements designed to be run on sub-$300 systems that can be purchased in bulk by schools.
The messaging on the software was always a bit messy, though, and the company didn’t really do itself any favors by launching it on the high-end Surface Laptop. This morning, however, VP Joe Belfiore confirmed via Twitter the company’s plans to streamline the offering, essentially reinventing 10S as a “S Mode,” a option baked into the larger Windows 10 operating system.
We use Win10S as an option for schools or businesses that want the 'low-hassle'/ guaranteed performance version. Next year 10S will be a "mode" of existing versions, not a distinct version. SO … I think it's totally fine/good that it's not mentioned.
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) March 7, 2018
The tweet was response to a question about branding confusion, with regard to the education-focused version of the operating system’s market share. Understandably, it’s been a bit difficult to determine how to classify what’s essentially functioned as a forked version of the company’s broader OS.
Belfiore didn’t specify precisely how S Mode will function within the broader operating system when it arrives at some point next year, so we mostly have some leaked info from last month to go on here. The upgrade structure is still kind of confusing according to the earlier info, with the price to upgrade a system either being $0 or $49, depending on which version of the operating system is installed on the hardware.
Hopefully the company will offer more insight into how, precisely, such an upgrade will work, because in its current form, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to do much to alleviate consumer conduction around the operating system.
What seems likely here is the the company will sell systems to schools and businesses who can then opt to upgrade (or not) on a case by case basis.