Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Windows in a bid to rival Google’s Chromebook.
A “new flavour” of the flagship operating system, Windows 10 S looks like the current version, but can only run apps and programs downloaded from the Windows Store.
It has been designed to make sure computers maintain their original speed and battery life for longer, Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella said.
The company said the new “walled” version of its software should help computers to “run as well as it does on day one as it does on day 1,000” by controlling how applications work.
One of the main reasons Windows computers slow down and lose battery life over time is that invasive software can launch on startup and load code into the memory. In the more secure Windows 10 S all apps are managed and installed through “containers” on the store.
“Windows over the years has been a very open platform meaning people can install software that writes across the Windows environment,” said Nadella. “By ensuring apps can only be installed through the store it gives a very managed environment and ensures consistent performance.”
As well as a new version of Windows, Microsoft also unveiled the next generation of its Surface laptop. The $999 (£770) computer has up to 14 and a half hours of battery life, a 13.5-inch screen, and runs Windows 10 S. It has a touch screen and will be available from June 15.
Separate manufacturers are expected to introduce the software onto devices, including laptops, tablets and desktop computers, later this year.
The release comes as a direct challenge to Google’s Chromebook and Apple’s MacBook Air.
How well Microsoft can compete, however, is not clear. In particular, the easy security of Windows 10 S comes with a major drawback: its store isn’t as well stocked as Apple and Google’s equivalents. It only recently added Netflix and is yet to offer Spotify.
Nevertheless, the company will be hoping that its pitch to students and the education sector will give it an edge over its rivals.