There is growing momentum behind the idea that Microsoft’s locked down Cloud OS would be targetted at the education environment and specifically be designed to take on Google’s successful Chrome Books.
By restricting users to the Windows Store it should, like Chrome Books, vastly improve the safety and manageability of the devices, but so far we have not heard of a second major benefit of Chrome Books – that of being able to log into any device and have all your apps and files available automatically.
Now a recently renewed patent by Microsoft filed in December 2016, suggests this feature will also be part of the OS.
The patent for APPLICATION INSTALL AND LAYOUT SYNCING, “relate to synchronising configuration information between devices associated with a user. The synchronised configuration information can relate to application installations and uninstallations as well as to user modifications to user interfaces for managing and invoking the applications.”
The patent notes “this description of inventive embodiments will begin with an overview of cloud-linked computing and computing devices used therefor” and continues to say “FIG. 1 shows an example of a multi-user multi-device cloud-oriented operating environment. Users may use or control respective sets of computing devices. Each user may have a user credential, user account, user identity, or some functional equivalent for distinguishing identity across computing devices forming and using a computing cloud. Account names, email accounts or addresses, and website accounts, are examples of user identities. Other information that can uniquely identify users can also serve as a user identity, such as a public key, a digitally signed certificate, a cookie, a hashtag, a biometric, etc. Such will be referred to as user identities.
The computing devices or servers providing these services or resources may have infrastructure that coordinates and facilitates cooperation among the servers, for example, midware, clustering management, standby servers, data mirroring, virtual machine management, migration software, database engines, and so forth.
The account service manages the user identities 102 that are used within the cloud and on the user computing devices. The user identities might be stored in a table or the like…. Returning to FIG. 1, the account service may also track user computing devices in a table or data store of environment or device identifiers .”
Windows of course long had the underpinnings of this technology, and since Windows 8 we have also been able to roam using our Microsoft Accounts. It is likely Windows 10 Cloud will take this one step further.
Of note is that Windows 10 being abe to run on ARM would make the OS a drop-in replacement for Chrome OS, which is also available on both ARM and x86 devices.
It is clear to me that for Microsoft to take on the very successful Google Chrome OS in the classroom they would need to be feature competitive, which means not just being locked down and secure, but also cloud-based and specific device agnostic.
While current Windows 10 Cloud builds do not yet reveal these elements it is likely that we will hear much more details about the OS at Microsoft’s upcoming Education event on the 2nd May.
The full patent can be seen here.