Windows 10 Will Have Two Smartphone SKUs

Microsoft is including two smartphone SKUs in its Windows 10 lineup -- Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

Windows 10 Mobile will be a free upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 users, according to Microsoft's announcement on Wednesday. This SKU will run on both smartphones and tablets with screens that are smaller than 8 inches. Devices running Windows 10 Mobile will be able to take advantage of apps designed for Microsoft's new "Universal Windows Platform," including the forthcoming touch-based Office apps.

The new "Continuum" feature in Windows 10 -- which lets a user connect their smartphone to a standard monitor-keyboard-mouse workstation and interact with the phone through the desktop interface -- will be available only for "some new" Windows 10 mobile devices, Microsoft said.

The second mobile SKU, dubbed Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, will be available only to Microsoft's volume licensing customers. Designed to meet the security needs of businesses, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will include controls for IT pros to manage software updates. It will also "incorporate the latest security and innovation features as soon as they are available," according to Microsoft.

Microsoft said it is also planning a version of Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise that will run on embedded devices, including point-of-sale terminals, kiosks and ATMs. In addition, a separate SKU, called Windows 10 IoT Core, will run on "small footprint, low cost devices like gateways," Microsoft said.

Microsoft's announcement on Wednesday listed at least seven planned Windows 10 editions. Besides the two mobile SKUs and the IoT Core SKU, the other editions are:

  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Education

Microsoft also indicated that it is planning a version of Windows 10 for Xbox gaming consoles.

Read more about the full Windows 10 lineup here.

Windows 10 is expected to be released this summer for desktop PCs and larger tablets. However, the mobile versions will launch later in 2015, Microsoft said during April's Build conference.

"We're adapting the phone experiences later than we're adding the PC experiences," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Operating Systems Group, according to a report by The Verge.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.