Here's a look at what Microsoft's Windows Lite might look like, and where it's headed

Rumors of a new operating system called Lite have been showing up since December. In fact, the original rumors were that it might not even be called Windows, marking a departure from Microsoft's previous strategies. Designed to compete with Chrome OS, it's set to have a new UI and substantially less overhead.

According to a new report from Petri's Brad Sams, we now have an idea of what the OS will look like. The image above is a mockup of Lite at its current stage in development. Sams also confirmed that the out-of-box experience is similar to that of Windows 10.

As expected, Lite will only install apps from the Microsoft Store, currently only UWP apps and PWAs. Microsoft is looking at supporting Win32 apps eventually, and it would be surprising if the firm doesn't work this out by the time that Lite ships. Microsoft really doesn't talk about UWP anymore in the way that it used to, and the firm seems to have a refreshed focus on Win32, even supporting it in the Windows Mixed Reality shell now.

But while it certainly looks a lot more like Chrome OS, the familiar Windows experience is still there. There's still a File Explorer, windowed apps, and more.

Many of us still remember the ill-fated Windows RT, one of the times that Microsoft attempted to modernize Windows. One of the key problems at the time was that it looked exactly like Windows 8, but you couldn't run the same apps, leaving users confused. A different UI could be a step in the right direction.

According to Sams, it's called Lite because the company is breaking down users into two categories: lite and heavy. While Lite is targeted at lite users for now, Microsoft plans to expand the platform to have the capabilities of Windows but without the overhead. As it stands, Lite will ship on Pegasus laptops and convertibles, and the Centaurus dual-screen devices.

It's unclear what Lite will actually be called when it comes to market. Windows Lite is out since Microsoft is apparently not calling it Windows, and Lite OS is out because LiteOS is already a thing from Huawei. Hopefully, we'll learn more at the company's Build 2019 developer conference.

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