Several terminals including the Surface Neo should be postponed to 2021. Microsoft is considering replacing Windows 10 S with Windows 10X.
Delays related to the coronavirus will force, according to the American press, Microsoft to postpone the launch of the Surface Neo and other dual-screen PCs, whose release was initially scheduled for 2020 and 2021. Only Microsoft’s Surface Duo, running Android, will not be impacted.
Sources close to Microsoft had told our colleagues at PC World that the launch of the Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 was postponed to the end of April, Microsoft simply fearing, according to them, not having enough devices to market. But the Redmond company also faces another reality: consumers may not want to buy a high-end Windows work machine and a mobility-centric Windows device when they’re stuck at home. Covid-19 and are worried about losing their jobs.
A source close to Microsoft said the Surface Neo production has been put on hold to reallocate resources and meet the most pressing customer needs. On the other hand, the delivery of the Surface Duo, based on Android, scheduled for 2020, is still maintained. Microsoft has also invested resources in the development of Windows 10X, launched as an emulator in February. Savvy users found a solution to run Windows 10 X on a single-screen machine soon after. A priority now for Microsoft, including classic clamshells and two-in-one machines, most likely due to the very mixed reception of Windows 10 S.
Windows 10X for all
When Windows 10 S launched in 2017, Microsoft wanted to compete with Google and its inexpensive Chromebook in the world of education. At the time, Windows devices were deemed far too expensive and far too complex by the industry. They always are. Google’s approach was to host almost everything on the web, and run everything in a sandbox within its ChromeOS operating system. The offer met the needs of schools in terms of budget, and its machine was more difficult to hijack by students.
On the high end, analysts focused on Microsoft working on expensive dual-screen devices, and whether that strategy made sense in a world where screen and keyboard unique are among the majority uses. As Microsoft postpones the release of these dual-screen devices today, the company could change direction and position Windows 10X in the low-cost market. Like Windows 10 S, Windows 10X is a locked system that only works with so-called “trusted” applications, the range of which has been extended this time beyond the Windows Store. All updates will be done in the background and quickly. The device could even do without anti-malware.
The benefits of Windows 10X highlighted
But its container model is perhaps Windows 10X’s most interesting addition. Each Windows 10X app will run in its own virtualized container, protecting the operating system, user data, and other apps in case an app has been compromised. Microsoft also claims that the OS will need fewer resources and its latency will be lower than that of traditional virtual machines. This seems essential for equipment designed with maximum savings to reduce its cost. Windows 10X is also visually simple. The traditional “Start” menu is gone, replaced by a very banal “application drawer” in an interface that resembles that of a smartphone.
Whatever happens, all of this will probably take some time. Microsoft’s immediate priority will likely be to get its hands on the app container model. The company must also finalize its operating system, tweak it, integrate it with its existing device management software and convince PC manufacturers either to create dedicated single-screen Windows 10X devices for it, or to retrofit some of its existing equipment. It is likely that almost all PC manufacturers will follow suit, and they will continue to develop and supply Chromebooks at the same time. In case Windows 10X doesn’t attract the expected buyers…
For Surface Duo fans, no worries. Microsoft was thrilled to showcase the Android Surface Duo mobile in a work-from-home environment (alongside a Surface Book, by the way). As for Windows 10X, Microsoft must aim for a release of the OS in July or August 2020, if the manufacturer wants to be in phase with the start of the school year in September. Until then, regular Windows PCs (and Chromebooks) will continue to reign supreme in the market.