Rumors are heating up that Microsoft is working on a stripped-down version of Windows 10 that would be as lightweight and nimble as Chrome OS, to compete in the same market. That market consists of Chromebooks, though Microsoft would also target dual-screen tablets, with new hardware potentially emerging sometime this year.
In fact, it's said that dual-screen devices would be the primary target for what Microsoft is internally calling Windows Lite. We have seen a push towards folding devices more recently with handsets like Samsung's Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X, though the types of hardware Microsoft is envisioning would be closer in concept to the Courier.
Going after Chromebooks would not be out of the question either, and perhaps lucrative. The best selling laptops on Amazon consist of several low-cost notebooks, including Chromebooks—Lenovo's Chromebook C330 sits at No. 2, while Acer's CB3-532 rounds out the top ten list at No. 10. Sandwiched in between are a few relatively inexpensive Windows laptops, like HP's Stream at No. 4.
Windows 10 Lite Mockup, Click to Enlarge (Source: Petri.com via Brad Sams)
So, there is a definite market for this type of thing. Windows Lite would attempt to play in the same arena by offering an interface that is familiar to Windows users, with less functionality. Brad Sams, an author at Thurrott, recently posted a mockup of what Windows Lite would like like, saying it is an "accurate portrayal" of the OS in its current iteration.
"Microsoft is targeting entry-level devices with Lite but also expects to target heavy users as well. The reason the company chose the name Lite, for now at least, is that they categorize users into lite and heavy; lite users they expect to use Lite OS whereas heavy users will use Windows 10," Sams wrote.
It's said that the out of box experience is similar to Windows 10. However, Windows Lite currently only runs Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), though Microsoft may eventually support Win32 apps as well.
Where this all goes, we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps Microsoft will reveal more during its Build conference in a couple of months.