Microsoft’s big sales pitch with Windows 10 is that it’s one platform, with one consistent experience and one app store to get your software from.
But when it comes to buying the actual product, there will be seven different versions, Microsoft says in a blog post.
Here they are:
Windows 10 Home, which is the most basic PC version.
Windows 10 Pro, which has touch features and is meant to work on two-in-one devices like laptop/tablet combinations, as well as some additional features to control how software updates get installed — important in the workplace.
Windows 10 Enterprise, which will have extra management features. We have some ideas of pricing here, as Microsoft is touting a $7/month Windows 10 Enterprise subscription for businesses that also includes a bunch of juicy, lucrative cloud services.
Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, which is like the one above, but with more business management features.
Windows 10 Education, which is optimized for schools.
Windows 10 IoT Core, which is for robots, smart sensors, and — well, if you need it, you’ll know it.
There’s very little reason to stress here.
The important thing to know is that if you’re a consumer using Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1, you’re get a free upgrade to the equivalent version of Windows 10, so long as you take the plunge in the first year.
So, for example, if you’re using Windows 8 Home Edition, you’re going to have the option of upgrading to Windows 10 Home Edition.
All of these versions of Windows 10 include the good stuff, like the new Microsoft Edge browser that’s replacing Internet Explorer, digital assistant Cortana, and the new password-less Windows Hello login system. And Microsoft is promising Universal Apps that work across the whole range of devices, from phone to PC and back.
And if you take Microsoft up on its free offer, you get the upgrade to the right version automatically.
But for something that’s supposed to be a massive departure, this list of Windows 10 versions sure seems to be business as usual for customers.
For developers, the fact that it’s all Windows 10 on the backend makes it easier to develop apps once and make them available to everybody, everywhere. But for the actual users, this range of Windows 10 versions is annoying at best, even if it’s an annoyance that Microsoft customers are used to.
The other massive caveat here is that we don’t know Windows 10 pricing outside of the free upgrade offer — so if you want to go from Windows 8 Home to Windows 10 Pro, for example, we don’t know for sure how much that would cost you. Free just isn’t always free.