First Screenshots of Windows Cloud Leak

Posted on February 3, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 23 Comments

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.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “First Screenshots of Windows Cloud Leak”

  1. Avatar

    1321

    So... will Google UWP package Chrome and will Apple UWP package iTunes? (If technically possible)

  2. Avatar

    548

    I do hope there's more to the story.  Because right now, "Doesn't run win32 apps" equates (in the mind at least) to Windows RT...which equates to "completely useless".

  3. Avatar

    2428

    OMG, stop the presses, it looks just like Windows 10

  4. Avatar

    4288

    Brad, getting Win32 apps to run on ARM and then locking down these devices to store only still works in the context of it enables ARM devices to run centennialised applications. Without the Win32>ARM emulation, an ARM-based PC could only run proper UWP apps that where the app manifest says it can run on ARM.

    Now these Cloudbooks will be able to run any Store app not just a subset i.e. it will be able to run the Windows Store version of Photoshop Elements. If you can get Google Chrome via the store and the UWP Office fleshed out a little more, these could make great consumer laptops.

  5. Avatar

    556

    Wow, this is a surprise to me. So... Now we have windows 10, windows 10 mobile, windows 10 ARM, and windows cloud. Microsoft is really looking to confuse people. Hopefully UWP apps work on all with out developers rewriting or repacking. Is this their anwer to a Chromebook? I would think the ARM version that can run it all might be a better fit.

  6. Avatar

    5664

    I'm disappointed that it doesn't yet have the Cloud Shell. I'd like to have a look at that.

  7. Avatar

    5234

    "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."

     

    I could see them possibly supporting UWP-wrapped Win32 apps on ARM exclusively for Windows 10 on ARM as well as this SKU.

     

    In fact, I would bet money that the Windows 10 on ARM version that finally ships, and Windows 10 Cloud on ARM will be the same SKU in the end.

  8. Avatar

    5234

    If they make a porting kit for this so that ARM chip makers can make it run on low-cost dev boards like the ODroid-C2 or some future RPi kit with 2GB+ of RAM, then this would be a killer platform.

    It won't happen though, because they won't make the kernel portable enough (or open-source it) so that hardware makers can make the necessary modifications or drivers.

  9. Avatar

    217

    The only way this makes inroads into education is if it can run chrome. Plus, it will be interesting to see how much control is available in Settings, and whether or tools will be built in (regedit, disk mgmt, etc). If they are then I think this is pointless.

  10. Avatar

    5530

    This seems stupid and really arbitrary especially if this SKU is going to run on Intel. Even more mind-blowing is the fact that we've seen this before with Windows RT but apparently they haven't learnt anything from it. If it's going to look like Windows 10, it needs to actually do what people do on Windows 10.

    Unbelievable.

    • Avatar

      2039

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      The main flaw of RT was marketing, not the product itself. There are tons of people who don't know how to handle their PC properly and closed OS is an advantage for them, not a con. With Slack, Photoshop, Evernote, Office being in the Store the list of must-have apps / programs is not that big and I'm sure we'll here of more partners at this year's Build

      • Avatar

        5530

        In reply to Vidua:

        "The main flaw of RT was marketing, not the product itself"

        you have got to be shitting me.

      • Avatar

        5530

        In reply to Vidua:

        At least in the case of Windows RT it was a technical reason. Limiting Windows 10 cloud in this fashion is just arbitrary and stupid. This thing is almost certainly going to run on Intel. Anything that actively inhibits x86/64 apps on a x86/64 Windows SKU is a dumb af idea. Period. I don't think there any room for budging here. It's not going to push people to UWP, it's going to push people to jump off a cliff.

  11. Avatar

    120

    I wonder if the "future product release" mentioned in that Surface firmware release a couple of weeks ago was pointing towards compatibility with this product...

  12. Avatar

    187

    Screams Education sector and the need for a simpler system to compete against ChromeOS.

  13. Avatar

    5485

    If the licensing is actually free, its only natural that the Windows Store only apps will be the policy. I guess MS is planing to get payed with Windows Store sales in these devices in the consumer scenario and through selling the management tools in the corporate and education markets.

    The question is ... will consumers and corporations get into this or not? How much cheaper will be these devices? One hundred bucks less than current devices with Windows Home? Where is the functional advantage when compared with the competition ... iPad Pro, ChromeBooks and Windows 10 devices? 

    PS: I'm a great proponent of App Store services for many many reasons including security. The advantages outweighs the disadvantages, but if the Apps are not there ...

    Apple could do the App Store only devices because there was nothing there comparable to iPhone and than the iPad. Google quickly followed the lead and got the middle to low range and its not competing with the high end. MS came up with a bad solution Windows RT / Surface just showing that it did not get it at all from a design point of view and too them to long to figure it out.

    My impression is that its just too late. Either MS manages to convince developers to build apps and sell them through the store for Windows 10 ... Windows 10 Cloud will not do it. One way to do it is to enable tablet mode only for UWP apps ... ops forgot they tried that before.

    They need to come up with a robust system. The iPad Pro does not make any noise or stutters with feature rich apps and still has a long battery life. On the other hand equivalente features within Windows applications running in the Surface line ... it starts huffing and puffing (fan noise) and battery life reduces dramatically. Not to mention the regular updates ...

  14. Avatar

    2532

    You know they will throw win32 apps under the bus and call them insecure, full of malware and viruses. Which will of course upset all the thousands and thousands of win32 app developer who will never never, ever develop a UWP app. Even if their livelihood depended on it. It will take another 15 to 20 years for win32 apps to stop being the majority of the applications that are used today. Just like windows XP is still being used today by millions and millions of people.

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