Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10X is dead. For those who don’t know, 10X should be an entirely new version of Windows 10 designed specifically for dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo. It would allow Windows 10 applications to run side-by-side on the two touchscreen displays or stretch across the two for extra screen space. A simplified user interface was also in the works. Microsoft gave the tip to use Windows 10X to test radically new ideas before rolling them over to the main Windows 10 operating system.
Unfortunately, this great experiment is now over. Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 development is now complete.
It’s not all bad news, however. Microsoft has confirmed that some of the best parts of this experiment, dual-screen, stripped-down and simplified new operating systems, will still see the light of day. The Redmond-based company doesn’t throw it all away. Instead, the proverbial baby will be rescued from the bathwater – and some of the new items designed for Windows 10X will now be available in future updates for Windows 10.
“Instead of launching a product called Windows 10X in 2021, as we originally intended, we are leveraging the lessons learned from our journey to date and accelerating the integration of the most important 10X core technology into other parts of Windows and the company’s products.” Windows maintenance and delivery manager John Cable confirmed in a statement to The Verge.
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Some of the technologies developed for Windows 10X, such as better voice input and a redesigned on-screen keyboard for touchscreen devices, are already appearing in some beta versions of Windows 10.
Windows 10X not only enabled a new generation of dual-screen gadgets, it was viewed by many as a stealth competitor to Chrome OS. The latter, developed by Google, has gotten out of hand in the past few years. After the pandemic, schools ran to buy inexpensive Chromebooks for students who work from home and uploaded teaching materials to Google Classrooms. Windows 10 – a standard in companies – is losing ground in the important education market. Windows 10X could have been a way to address potential Chromebook customers thanks to its reduced and simplified user interface and functions.
Microsoft has long struggled to create a simplified version of its giant desktop operating systems. Previous attempts such as Windows RT, which launched in 2012 as a separate version of the operating system with the first Surface tablet and in 2017 as Windows 10S, have failed.
Microsoft releases two important updates for Windows 10 every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The earlier Windows update from May 10, 2021 is now available. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many shiny new features to try out. This is likely because Microsoft is preparing for the October 2021 upgrade that will bring the operating system a modern new design, faster Bluetooth pairing for headphones, new icons for File Explorer, and improvements to managing multiple monitors on your desk confers.
It remains to be seen whether Windows 10X innovations will appear in this blockbuster update.