When Microsoft released their Windows 10 operating system back in 2015, they raised some eyebrows by proclaiming it to be the last version of Windows. That was due to their introduction of a new system wherein regular updates are introduced to the OS in the form of builds, gradually adding and improving the operational experience without having to conceptualize a new version from scratch. That has been the way things have gone in the years since. But when Microsoft revealed its new Surface devices last week, they also mentioned a new OS called Windows 10X running for the dual-screen Surface Neo. Or is it new?
According to The Verge, Windows 10X was described as a “streamlined” version of the Windows 10 which already runs in around 47% of traditional PCs around the world as of last month (September 2019). The thing is, this 10X “version” is currently tuned only for use with dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo due to release during the Holidays in 2020, and is the result of Microsoft taking base Win-10 and making it more modular. There are plans to introduce Windows 10X in more future dual-touchscreen computers, but PC owners with Windows 10 cannot switch that out for the 10X.
Surprisingly, Microsoft has been remarkably cagey in explaining any further about Win-10X, so it was up to observers of the Surface reveal event the week before to make their own guesses on what it is about. It is known that the 10X used on the demonstration Surface Neo was just an early build with more room for improvement. Next, the Start Menu has been reconfigured into a launcher icon akin to smartphones. Finally, Win-10X can apparently run older “legacy” desktop applications of the Win32 variety. That adds more versatility in addition to Windows Store and other “modern” online web apps.
Based on these assumptions, it can be surmised that Microsoft Windows 10X is a modular shell that allows for developers to twiddle with the user interface for optimization on non-desktop computers like the new dual-screen devices. Aside from the Surface Neo, other longtime manufacturers like Dell, HP, Asus and Lenovo are developing their own Intel-powered dual screens for the market, and Windows 10X is poised to be their built-in OS.
While previewing the Surface Neo and its Win-10X OS a full year before availability is a rather long wait, Microsoft doing so also serves as a motivation for software developers to begin exploring the possibilities of 10X for their newer upcoming applications. Microsoft Surface development head Panos Panay did remark during the reveal event that developers will get the Surface Neo to work with soon.
Image courtesy of Android Authority