Microsoft puts Windows 10X variant on the back burner

Enlarge / The Floor Neo did not launch in 2020—this yr, it appears to be like like its working system will share that destiny.


At its fall 2019 Floor occasion, Microsoft announced that Home windows 10X—a brand new shopper Home windows distribution—would energy a line of dual-screened pill units in 2020. However the Floor Neo by no means arrived, and in Could 2020, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay retargeted Home windows 10X to “single display experiences.”

What was Home windows 10X?

Microsoft’s unique plan for the Home windows variant was to “allow distinctive experiences on multi-posture dual-screen PCs.” This meant powering a wholly new class of units—a hinged pair of touchscreens, which appeared to be attempting to bridge the divide between pill and pocket book. Along with Microsoft’s personal Floor Neo, the corporate’s {hardware} companions—together with Dell, Lenovo, and HP—had been imagined to manufacture units to the brand new specification.

However Microsoft nixed the Neo final yr, and the speak of partner-manufactured 10X units died together with it. The corporate’s new chief product officer, Panos Panay, declared that Microsoft “want[s] to concentrate on assembly prospects the place they’re now”—which meant specializing in single-screen units and interfaces once more.

Panay didn’t go into nice element about his new plans for Home windows 10X, however the distribution seemed like a possible competitor for Chromebooks—and doubtless for the corporate’s present Home windows 10 S-Mode, which cuts the OS down to reveal minimums and restricts software program set up with a purpose to accommodate extraordinarily low cost and low-powered units.

Home windows 10X joins Home windows RT and Home windows S

Now, sources inside Microsoft tell’s Brad Sams that Home windows 10X will not be transport this yr, both—and that 10X as we all know it immediately “will doubtless by no means arrive.” Sams’ sources declare that Microsoft has shifted its assets again to Home windows 10, leaving 10X deserted for now.

The story arc of Home windows 10X follows a longtime Microsoft sample—the corporate has been attempting to pare Home windows down for smaller, much less highly effective units for fairly a while, with little success. Windows CE was the longest-lived try; the OS powered a sequence of unloved and undersold telephones and handhelds from 1996 to 2013.

Home windows RT was Microsoft’s subsequent try, launched concurrently with its equally unloved Home windows 8 in 2012. Home windows RT focused 32-bit ARM processors—which meant no assist for mainstream Home windows software program—and the brand new variant died on the vine, with solely 5 units ever constructed to assist it. Regardless of its lack of {hardware}, Microsoft continues to be on the hook for prolonged assist for Home windows RT by 2023.

After Home windows RT got here Home windows S. This time, Microsoft focused each ARM and really low-powered x86 infrastructure. The foremost function of Home windows S is a refusal to permit the person to immediately set up third-party purposes—solely a restricted set of purposes will be put in on S, and solely from the Microsoft Retailer.

This limitation, designed to maintain underpowered PCs feeling snappy, was so wildly unpopular that Microsoft modified S to “S-Mode” in 2018, permitting free conversion to straightforward Home windows 10 to anybody who purchases an S-Mode system.

Though Home windows 10X appears to be becoming a member of CE, RT, and S on the scrap heap, that does not essentially imply its improvement was wasted effort. We count on to see components of Home windows 10X’s design present up within the Solar Valley refresh of Home windows 10 later this yr.

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