According to two reports, Windows 10X, the simpler version of Windows 10 that was supposed to compete with ChromeOS, is about to be abandoned by Microsoft.
Microsoft would have postponed and perhaps even canceled the release of Windows 10X, this simplified version of Windows that the publisher was preparing to compete with Chromebooks. An initial report from Petri.com claiming the OS will not ship in 2021 has been confirmed by Windows Central that development work on Windows 10X has been put on hiatus. Neither report has been confirmed or denied by Microsoft, a representative of the Redmond firm having simply stated that the company had “nothing to share” on the subject.
It was in 2019, in New York, that Microsoft announced Windows 10X at a presentation event for the Surface Neo folding tablet, initially designed to run a lightweight version of the OS. Since then, neither the tablet nor the OS have seen the light of day. (In the meantime, the firm has also launched the Surface Duo, a foldable dual-screen Android mobile that has received mixed reviews.) Originally, Windows 10X was designed for the emerging ecosystem of dual-screen terminals, a “whole new expression” for the Windows family, as Panos Panay, head of hardware at Microsoft, said at the time. And the concept was indeed attractive, as our test of the dual-screen version of Windows 10X showed at the time.
A reorientation of Microsoft
But the year 2020, the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, everything has changed. With the Surface Duo failing to win, some reports have suggested that single-screen devices are Microsoft’s top priority again. Suddenly Windows 10X and its simplified user interface were presented as an alternative to Windows 10 S and as competitors of ChromeOS in order to challenge Chromebooks. In May 2020, the publisher returned to the traditional single-screen approach, confirming the validity of these reports.
One of the specificities of Windows 10X was its container model, which was supposed to isolate legacy Win32 applications. But in July, new leaks hinted that Microsoft would be ditching the Windows 10X container model as well. Finally, last fall, Windows 10X reverted to being a single-screen device operating system. We have tried it and this will be its last appearance. Finally, the only interest of Windows 10X was reduced to its simplified user interface, lightened of all the superfluous functions of the old versions of Windows.
A Windows 10X takeover in Sun Valley?
Is it a coincidence, but at the same time, the American firm has also started work on a redesign of the user interface of a Windows, codenamed “Sun Valley”, scheduled for second half of 2021. Nothing indicates that “Sun Valley” will take on the look and feel of Windows 10X. But the latest reports suggest that we could find some elements of the Windows 10X UI in Windows, either in “Sun Valley” or in a later version. We will have to wait to find out. The only thing we can say for now is that Microsoft seems to be refocusing on a traditional Windows 10, the one we use every day.