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Microsoft Aims New Windows 10 S Lineup at 'Firstline Workers'

Microsoft has unveiled a new line of low-cost Windows 10 S devices designed for those at the very front of the customer service experience.

Announced this week at the Microsoft Ignite conference, the new Windows 10 S devices are meant for what Microsoft calls "firstline workers," providing these users with an entry-level Windows 10 experience without sacrificing overall productivity.

"It offers more seamless integration with hosted VMs for remote desktop and apps for firstline worker scenarios," wrote Bernardo Caldas, Microsoft's general manager for Windows commercial marketing, in a blog post Monday. "And it is fully integrated with OneDrive, empowering Firstline Workers to work from anywhere."

Devices from OEMs including Acer, HP, Fujitsu and Lenovo are expected to roll out in the coming weeks starting at $275 each. The devices can be managed using Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune out of the box. Future updates will deliver Windows 10 Enterprise capabilities, including Application Guard, Credential Guard and support for Cortana and other centralized management tools through a Microsoft 365 subscription.

A major focus of this new line of Windows 10 S hardware is security. They can only run apps built on the Universal Windows Platform, ensuring that each app downloaded to the devices has gone through the Windows Store's vetting process. Prohibiting third-party apps should cut down on ransomware and malicious attacks, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is banking on these devices to push its recently rebranded subscription service, Microsoft 365, into the enterprise. The newly announced Microsoft 365 F1 (aimed at firstline workers) will be the backbone of the new Windows 10 S hardware. The new service will offer Windows 10, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) in one subscription package, which Microsoft said will help keep the operating costs of these devices down.

By focusing both its hardware and its software bundle on firstline workers, Microsoft is going after a market that it says has been largely ignored. "They form the backbone of many of the world's largest industries but have been largely left behind in digital transformation," wrote Caldas. "We believe there is tremendous opportunity to empower these workers to promote growth, spark innovation and accelerate an organization's success in the digital age."

Many new devices with the Windows 10 S branding are in the works, but Microsoft showed off four of them at Ignite: the HP Stream 14 Pro (available in October for $275), the Acer Aspire 1 (available in Q4 for $299), the Acer Swift 1 (available in Q4 for $349) and the Lenovo V330 (available February 2018 for $349).

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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