Microsoft is working on a new iteration of Windows called Windows Cloud and while details around this OS are still light, screenshots from the OS have leaked and confirm that the platform will only run UWP applications. The shots are from an early build of the platform, so many things can still change, but to little surprise, it looks nearly identical to Windows 10.
As noted above, the one major constraint of this version of Windows is that it will only run UWP applications and in the screenshot at the top of this post, you can see what happens when you try to run a win32 application. Microsoft is pitching this limitation as a security feature which will likely be their marketing message when this OS is announced.
One thing worth pointing out is that if you convert an app to the Windows Store with Centennial which repackages Win32 applications, as Windows Blog Italia notes, they will run on Windows Cloud. This means that even though you cant run older apps natively, it will not require all that much work to allow them to run on Windows Cloud.
[Update] I got my hands on a build of Windows Cloud and it currently does not support Centennial apps, although this could change in a future release.
And of course, that’s the point. Microsoft wants to make it easy to bring legacy apps into the Windows Store to help bolster their marketplace and this will also give the company greater control over the app to improve security.
It’s not known yet when Microsoft will announce Windows Cloud but seeing as the OS is now out in the wild, this hopefully means an announcement is coming soon. Until then, we will keep poking around to see if there are any other big features or limitations with Windows Cloud to help paint a better picture about how Microsoft plans to position this OS.
It could be, seeing as they are releasing Windows on ARM devices later this year, that the company is going to use this limited iteration of Windows 10 to drive those machines. If this sounds familiar, that’s because this is how Microsoft positioned Windows RT several years ago. But, what may be different this time around, is that Windows Cloud may run on Intel-based chips too.
Seeing as Microsoft has enabled win32 apps to run on ARM and to then release an OS that doesn’t support those apps on those devices, does seem a bit odd. I suspect there is more to the story here but only time will tell about what part of the picture we are missing.