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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 S Hardware Aimed at 'Firstline Workers'

Microsoft announced on Tuesday a new line of Windows 10 S devices that are low cost and secure for employees in positions where they are the first contact to the public.

The new line of devices come from HP, Acer, Fujitsu and Lenovo, and start at $275. The goal of these devices are to give users an entry level experience without sacrificing overall productivity, the company said. "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 commercial marketing in Windows, in a blog post. "And it is fully integrated with OneDrive, empowering Firstline Workers to work from anywhere."

These devices are also designed to be managed through Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune out of the box. Future updates will include 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 on the new line of hardware will be on security due to these devices only being able to run apps built on the Universal Windows Platform. That ensures that each app downloaded to the device must go through the Windows Store's vetting process for security. And the inability to download outside third-party apps should cut down on ransomware and malicious attacks, the company said.

Microsoft is banking on these devices to spread the company's newly rebranded subscription service, Microsoft 365, into the enterprise, as 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 in one subscription package which, Microsoft said, will help keep the operating costs of these devices down.

Microsoft said that with the new line of devices and the specifically targeted subscription service at these firstline workers, the company is going after a market that has been largely ignored or forgotten. "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."

While many new devices with the Windows 10 S branding are in the works, Microsoft showed off at Ignite four upcoming devices, including the HP Stream 14 Pro (available in October for $275), Acer Aspire 1 (available Q4 for $299), Acer Swift 1 (available Q4 2017 for $349) and the Lenovo V330 (available February 2018 for $349). Microsoft and OEMs have yet to share hardware specs of these devices, but with the first devices arriving in a few weeks, look for details to emerge shortly.

About the Author

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

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