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Leaked document shows Microsoft is about to take on Chromebooks

Leaked document shows Microsoft is about to take on Chromebooks

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Microsoft is expected to unveil its Windows 10 Cloud operating system next month at a special software and hardware event in New York City. The software giant is likely launching its own hardware with a special version of Windows 10, which could debut as Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Cloud. While we’ll have to wait for May 2nd to see exactly what Microsoft is planning, some hardware specs point to plans for low-end devices to compete with Google’s Chromebooks.

Microsoft’s event is focused on education, an area Chromebooks are thriving in, and Windows Central has obtained an internal Microsoft document detailing the minimum hardware specifications for “Windows 10 Cloud performance.” One of the targets is for devices running the Windows 10 variant to provide more than 10 hours of battery life, or effectively all day battery life for students. Other hardware specifications include:

  • Quad-core (Celeron or better) processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage (64GB for 64-bit)
  • A battery larger than 40 WHr
  • Fast eMMC or SSD for storage
  • Pen and touch (optional)

One way Microsoft could achieve better battery life with these types of low-end machines is with a new power throttling feature that’s due to arrive with the next major Windows 10 update in September. Microsoft is testing the feature right now with options to limit background tasks, but it won’t debut in time for the back-to-school season.

Chromebooks appear to be responsible for some recent PC market growth, and Microsoft’s response on May 2nd will be telling. Rumors have suggested Microsoft might be working on a clamshell design for a laptop that’s priced lower than the typical Surface devices. We’ll find out exactly what Microsoft has planned for schools on May 2nd, and The Verge will be live from New York covering Microsoft’s announcement.