When it ships late next year, the Microsoft Surface Neo will be the first devices to run Windows 10X, a new version of Windows that’s optimized for dual-screen or foldable computers.
But it won’t be the only Windows 10X device for long. Microsoft says it’s “soon to be followed by devices from Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.”
We don’t know much about the design, specs, or features of those devices yet. But it’s a safe bet that they’ll all be multi-mode computers that either feature two separate displays or a single flexible display that can be folded in half.
Microsoft does provide one other clue as to what to expect from upcoming hardware: all of the initial Windows 10X devices will be “powered by Intel,” which rules out ARM or AMD processors… at least in the short term.
So what exactly is Windows 10X?
Honestly, Microsoft is being a little vague about that at the moment. On the one hand, the company says it’ll feel familiar to anyone who’s used Windows 10 thanks to a similar user interface. But since it takes more power to drive two screen than one, the company wanted to decrease the battery drain of apps.
So Win32 apps will run in containers, which Microsoft says gives the operating system more control over battery usage by apps.
In other words, it sounds like Microsoft plans to treat traditional Windows desktop apps a bit more like Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps distributed via the Microsoft Store.
That’s probably not the only change. When Microsoft unveiled the Surface Neo, the company showed a bunch of new features including the ability to use cover a portion of one display with a physical keyboard, while using the remaining space as a touchpad, Surface Pen input area, or emoji/GIF locater. You can also watch videos in this small subsection of the window.
There also appears to be some sort of new app launcher/search tool. And there’s a nifty feature that lets you expand an app to span two displays by dragging it to the center and releasing it. Apps like Outlook should automatically reflow in a way that takes advantage of both screens (with the left side showing a list of messages, for example, and the right displaying the currently selected conversation).
It’s unclear if those features will be exclusive to the upcoming Surface Neo or if they’re baked into the operating system in a way that will allow Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to leverage them as well.
With the launch of Windows 10X about a year away, it’s likely we’ll learn more about the operating system in the coming months as Microsoft tries to court developers to create apps and experiences for the new platform.
After this announcement, I had to go back and watch the Unbox Therapy review of the Lenovo folding screen laptop prototype. I wonder if it was running a very early 10X build.
I’m hoping to see one of these OEMs come out with a Windows 10X UMPC. The Surface Duo could have been one but, unfortunately, it’s just another dual screen/foldable Android phone coming out in the next year or so.
Good to see, considering Asus showed off their Project Precog at Computex 2018 which is a similar dual-screen laptop. My main reservation about these kinds of things is the software work that has to go into making these weird form factors work, so if Microsoft’s handling that part then I’m very keen to see this form factor be explored more!
Will be interested to see how the Neo turns out — would like one to replace my original Yoga Book.
I’m looking forward to this. I’m surprised the devices aren’t using ARM.
Aside from that I’m interested because I can see a use for this type of device as a companion device. Tablets can get things done, but they still don’t quite meet my needs as a paper notebook/notepad replacement. Also there are no good small Windows tablets anymore. Those were my favorite devices but I can’t find anything to replace my old NuVision 8 that I still use daily (but is not doing so well with battery life). This device looks like an actual notebook and it looks like they designed it to be used like a book. Plus this has pen and inking support. I’m hopeful it will be a good device.
Too bad they already used the name Surface Book.
I hope at least one of them engineers some kind of kickstand that holds it in portrait mode. Standing it up vertically like an open book looks annoying. There’s no way that would be a usable angle on a tabletop
Comments are closed.