The latest iPad Pro and Google Pixel Slate has gotten people talking about next-gen computers again. The Pixel Slate, in particular, had decent hardware but left users wanting a bit more from the software. There’s little doubt Chrome OS has potential, with a bit of polish, something even Microsoft may be indirectly acknowledging. That’s probably why it insists on spinning out “Chrome OS killers”, like a certain “Windows Lite” that the company may be close to announcing.
It seems that Microsoft still hasn’t given up on the idea of a stripped down version of Windows. That despite the failure of Windows 10 S, now demoted to just a special “S Mode” in Windows. In fact, this so-called Windows Lite will be even more locked and stripped down, which naturally raises questions of its usefulness.
According to clues pieced together from haphazardly released insider builds, Windows Lite is said to go to extremes, only allowing UWPs and PWAs to be installed and run. Unlike Windows 10 S, there will be no escape to a full Windows 10 experience. The version of Windows isn’t even based on Windows 10 directly but on the so-called Windows Core OS (WCOS).
Microsoft tried to go this route with Windows 10 S and, to some extent, Windows 10 on ARM, and mostly failed due to the lack of significant UWP apps from the Microsoft Store. The company might be betting heavily on Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) this time, given the returning popularity of non-native web apps. It’s no coincidence that Microsoft has been pushing for more PWAs to come to its app store.
Like with Windows 10 S, consumers need not even mind Windows Lite’s existence. While Microsoft is indeed targeting “always on, always connected” devices, Windows Lite is even more suited for business environments where workers have very little choice in what apps they can install and use.