Microsoft’s brief foray into ARM-based tablets running their own version of Windows debuted with the Surface RT and, after one attempt to refresh the product (Surface 2), faded from view thereafter. Microsoft’s mobile phones still run on ARM hardware, but the company dropped its attempts to build a crossover device that would leverage ARM hardware and the familiar operating environment of the traditionally x86-based Windows. Now, however, rumors have surfaced the firm might be preparing a new OS version — Windows Cloud — that’s not actually cloud-based at all.
Sharp-eyed users have spotted product definitions for a new “Windows Cloud” / “Windows Cloud N” (European version without a multimedia player packed in), and been speculating on what it might mean for the future of Windows. According to longtime Redmond watcher Mary J. Foley, the upcoming Windows Cloud. Instead, it’s a simplified version of Windows that can only run applications from the Windows Store. This is conceptually similar to the Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU that Microsoft distributed as a low-cost option to fend off Chromebooks, but it doesn’t have anything to do with cloud-based options or features.
Microsoft isn’t publicly acknowledging Windows Cloud will be positioned against Chromebooks. But it’s hard to see what else Microsoft would do with this type of OS variant. In fact, any move of this sort will need to be communicated and calibrated far better than Windows RT ever was. One of the biggest hurdles that version of the operating system faced was that people bought it and brought it home expecting it to run Windows applications — and it didn’t.
In theory, enough time has passed between 2012 and 2017 that the Windows Store would be much more capable of providing the applications Microsoft users expected to find on their new tablets. But the Store is so unpopular, I’m not sure that’s true, even now. A Windows Cloud OS could be extremely useful in certain markets where the device owner wants to offer a locked-down device with minimal features, but Redmond will need to make certain the devices don’t wind up competing against standardhardware. That kind of match-up doomed Surface RT and Surface 2, and it won’t do Windows Cloud any favors, either.
One major difference between the old Windows RT software and the new Windows Store, however, is that Win32 applications can be distributed in the Windows Store. That alone could make the difference — if the right vendors show up to provide application compatibility, and if Microsoft can make a pitch for the OS in the first place.
Source : https://www.extremetech.com/computing/243648-microsoft-may-prepping-new-locked-version-windows-windows-rt-like-restrictions