MICROSOFT IS working on a 'Lite' version of its Windows operating system aimed at dual-screen and its own "cloud book" devices - those aimed at rivalling Google's Chromebooks.
The Verge reports that the stripped down OS, known internally as 'Windows Lite', is being aimed first of all at dual-screen devices, a form factor that Microsoft is very keen on its OEMs trying.
Intel has also been pushing the new category of devices, with some success, but those early models are likely to have full-on Windows 10, with Windows Lite slated for nearer the end of the year.
As alternative form factors are once again on the rise - just look at the number of folding/dual devices on show at MWC this year - Microsoft seems determined not to get left behind again, as it did on mobile.
The extensive work on Windows Core OS and Compostable Shell (C-Shell) are at the heart of the new operating system, which means that it can be slipstreamed without starting from scratch.
At the time of writing, it appears to be Windows, but with limited functionality, similar to that of the Surface Hub or (whisper it) Windows Phone.
There are renders out there, but they're so work-in-progress that it could be that the finished product is unrecognisable - it is certainly meant to be distinctive, according to sources.
If the new OS iteration proves a success, it's likely that it will be rolled out to single screen devices too, allowing Microsoft to compete directly with the growing menace from Google's Chromebook range, which although having a tiny share of the market currently, are evangelically loved by those who have made the switch.
It's thought that Microsoft may even encourage manufacturers to offer Windows 10 and Windows Lite versions of the same device. The difference between Windows Lite and Windows S-Mode is in the name; one is slipstreamed with a lightweight footprint, the other is Windows with lippy and a parasol - still Windows 10 in all its three decades of deadweight, with the bits they don't want to talk about shoved between its legs.
Given that Windows record of "Windows-not-Windows" projects has been less than stellar, this will a project that Microsoft can't afford to rush. As such, expect it when it's ready - some reports say this year, others not so much. We'll let you know when we know more. μ
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