When Microsoft first announced Windows 10X, the company described it as a new version of Windows that would be optimized for dual-screen and foldable computers like the upcoming Microsoft Surface Neo. But over time it became clear that the new OS would also run on single-screen computers.
Now Microsoft’s Panos Panay says the first PCs to ship with Windows 10X will be single-screen devices. Dual-screen hardware is still on the way, but rumor has it that we may not see those products until next year.
In a blog post, Panay says Windows 10X was “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” and that “these single-screen devices will be the first expression of Windows 10X that we deliver to our customers.”
Panay ties the shift to the fact that a lot has changed since Microsoft unveiled the Surface Neo and Windows 10X in October. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the global economy and work habits, with millions of people working from home (and many not working at all). Rather than pushing a brand new form factor for computers, Panay says the company has shifted focus toward “meeting customers where they are now,” which means… traditional laptop, desktop, and tablet devices.
So what’s the point of running Windows 10X instead of Window 10 Home or Pro? The new operating system should be more secure, since it runs all apps in a containerized environment so that they cannot easily corrupt the underlying operating system. Unlike Windows RT and other failed experiments of the past, you should be able to run both Universal Windows Platform apps downloaded from the Microsoft Store and Win32 apps… although there may be some restrictions on certain types of Win32 software.
Windows 10X also includes an updated user interface that includes a new Start Menu, File Manager, and settings tools. And Windows 10X also downloads and installs operating systems in the background, much like Google’s Android and Chrome OS, which means that it should take about 90-seconds to reboot and finalized OS updates.