Specs of Microsoft’s purported CloudBook leaked

Microsoft aims to put its cloud OS-powered notebook on parity with Google Chromebooks

Specs of Microsoft’s purported CloudBook leak
Martyn Williams
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Over the past few weeks there have been rumors of a new version of Windows 10, called Windows 10 Cloud, that sounded like a reimagined Windows RT and would only load apps from the Windows Store and do everything online. 

Along with the new OS have been rumors of a new piece of hardware, dubbed the CloudBook, which would be targeted at the popular Chromebooks created by Google and its OEM partners. Chromebooks are basically modern-day netbooks, in that they are aimed at internet use, have very long battery life and are below cost. 

+ Also on Network World: Early version of Windows 10 Cloud leaked +

The CloudBook is expected to be the subject of a May 2 Microsoft event in New York City, with the tagline “Learn what's next” and the hashtag #MicrosoftEDU. Microsoft has alluded to the event being education-oriented, and Chromebooks have become very popular in the education sector, which has been dominated forever by Apple. Obviously Microsoft and Google smell blood in the water.

Ahead of that announcement, Windows Central has published an internal Microsoft document detailing the recommended minimum specifications for devices to run Windows 10 Cloud, as well as performance benchmarks against Chromebooks. Notable in the slide is the reference to “students,” yet another indicator this is for the education market.

windows 10 cloud performance benchmark story Windows Central

As the specs show, the CloudBook is being aimed at a very different market than the Surface tablets and notebooks. Surface has been more of a high-end, high performance product, and Microsoft has enjoyed pretty good sales of the hardware. 

But the CloudBook is going to be on parity with Chromebooks, and those sell for $249 or less. So, it will be low-end hardware, even with the SSD. How they plan to get to a 20 second boot time is interesting because my very powerful desktop needs 28 seconds. I presume Windows 10 Cloud will load a lot fewer services and drivers.

Still, as close as the CloudBook comes, some of those benchmarks still don't quite meet those of Chromebooks. But it will be close enough for the education market. The real benchmark is battery life, and Microsoft is targeting all-day use.

As said earlier, Windows 10 Cloud is reported to be restricted to running apps installed from the Windows Store, which should help lock down the device a lot better than regular Surface tablets. And Microsoft recently released a raft of education-oriented apps in the Windows Store. So, the signs are there. We’ll find out on Monday how well people read the tea leaves.

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