All of the latest editions of the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system are based on the same kernel: "One Core, One Platform, One Store" is therefore the message being delivered by Microsoft. The "Universal Windows Platform" (UWP) and "Universal Windows Driver" (UWD) offer the advantage of flexible use on all Windows 10-enabled devices. The smallest version, the "Windows 10 IoT Core", also runs on Raspberry Pi2 devices, the QUALCOMM Dragonboard or on MinnowBoard MAX with 64-bit Intel® Atom™ CPU. The minimum requirements quoted by Microsoft are a 600-MHz CPU, 2-GB storage and 256-MB RAM for headless devices or 512-MB RAM for devices with a local user interface. A number of different technologies, however, are no longer available under IoT Core: applications that use GDI, MFC, WinForms or WPF have to be rewritten in XAML, DirectX and HTML. The porting effort for native Win32 or .NET applications in general, however, is negligible. In order to speed up dissemination, Microsoft is now providing "Windows 10 IoT Core" – including Visual Studio® Version 2015 which is required for engineering – free of charge for evaluation and private use to the so-called "Maker" target group.
For commercial use, Microsoft already provided the "Windows 10 IoT Core Pro" edition at the beginning of November at a reasonable price, comparable to that of Windows CE. This version offers the necessary long lifecycle required for industrial purposes with its 10-year support package, and moreover, the automatic update mechanisms can only be disabled in this version.
Whereas Windows 8 never really took off in the automation sector – with the "per device activation" which could not be deactivated technically probably being the largest show stopper – this mechanism no longer exists in "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise". Many customers will therefore directly switch from "Windows Embedded Standard 7" to "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise". This version is no longer componentized and therefore no longer scalable, and requires 16-GB memory as standard. One advantage the full version can claim to offer is that software vendors can now be certain that all operating system functionalities are available and usable; device vendors were previously able to scale their "own image" and leave out functions as a result. The disadvantage of this is the higher price for the larger storage cards of industrial grade quality required in automation. The Enterprise Version is available in various "Branches": "Current Branch" (CB) means that the monthly Windows updates have to be loaded. With the "Current Branch for Business" (CBB), security updates are loaded directly; other updates are only loaded in the business devices however after an 8-month delay – following proven stability in the consumer market and even then only once per quarter. The "LTSB" variant ("Long Term Servicing Branch") will win through in the field of industrial automation; the official ordering name will then be "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2015 LTSB" and means that no new features will be foisted on users with the regular Windows update service. Only the security patches can be loaded optionally on demand. The LTSB version has neither the "Cortana" assistant on board nor access to the Microsoft Store – which is certainly manageable for machine controllers.
"2015" is the indicator for the release year. The next available edition would then be called "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2016 LTSB" in 2016 or, if it is released later than this, "Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2018 LTSB".