Microsoft confirmed that it’s refocusing Windows 10X on single-screen devices. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Windows and devices lead stated, “The world is a very different place than it was last October when we shared our vision for a new category of dual-screen Windows devices.”
“With Windows 10X, we designed for flexibility, and that flexibility has enabled us to pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways.”
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Windows 10X had originally been designed for dual screen devices like the Microsoft Surface Neo pictured below, but recent changes in the PC industry landscape (thanks to COVID-19) has caused them to shift focus to traditional PCs.
Windows RT 3.0
This is basically Microsoft’s third attempt at a more mobile friendly operating system. First there was Windows RT, next it was Windows 10S, and now its Windows 10X. They keep getting better and better each time, as Microsoft get closer and closer to making a new operating system that people actually want to use.
Most significantly, they have made massive strides in increasing legacy software support and making it easier for developers to make new software for the platform. Another huge change is the processing power of ARM CPUs. Like Windows RT and Windows 10S, this operating system is geared towards ultra mobile devices. And the thing about ultra mobile devices is that they are simply to thin to run lumbering, hot, x86 chips.
ARM Chips Are Getting Faster Than x86 Chips, Faster
New, powerful, ARM chips are starting to show up though. Apple has created their own ARM design and they are putting it in their latest Macbook, Lenovo has a powerful laptop with a ARM based Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx, and even Microsoft made an ARM CPU, the SQ1, which powers the Surface Pro X.
This really points back to software support though. As ARM processors get more and more powerful at much faster rates than x86 chips from the likes of AMD and Intel, they get better at running x86 programs in compatibility mode. It takes a particular amount of processing overhead to convert x86 programs to ARM programs on the fly, and having a more powerful ARM processor allows that process to happen more seamlessly.
We Don’t Have a Release Date Yet
Microsoft hasn’t made it clear exactly when Windows 10X will ‘come out’, but we have found out that it launch on single-screen devices first. Panay also mentioned, “We will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market.”
Windows 10X is being rerouted to conventional laptops, desktops, and tablets due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Redmond, Washing based software giant has seen a 75 percent increase in Windows 10 usage as compared to this time last year. More people are using their PCs instead of a smartphone or tablet during mass quarantines that we have seen lately.
The Usage-Share Tide Turns in Favor of The PC
This situation with the ongoing pandemic seems to have served as a reminder to the general public that PCs are not only still relevant, but they are more capable at getting work done. A general rule of thumb is that smartphones and tablets are great for content consumption, but traditional PCs are better for content creation.
Windows 10X features a more modern, simplified Windows user interface. Microsoft has been doing a lot of work to streamline the new OS with some UI and UX changes meant to improve things like multitasking, using the start menu, and easy access to system and user settings.
Cloud Virtualization Built-In
Microsoft has been working on something else that I think is pretty exciting. Cloud-powered virtualization. This cloud based computational system is actually going to be rolled into a core parts of Windows 10X, so expect a lot of interesting news on the topic.