Windows 10 modular OS is arriving next year: What we know so far

Windows 10X modular OS

The modular and most adaptive version of Windows 10 is
currently called ‘Windows 10X’ and it’ll be arriving on
traditional single-screen laptops in the first half of 2021.

Windows 10’s modular version was first announced in October
2019 and Microsoft originally said that the Surface Neo would
be the first device to run the new OS.

However, everything has changed after
Microsoft started preparing Windows 10X for single-screen
devices in an effort to meet the current needs of the
customers.
Microsoft has also removed the Surface Neo listing to
clarify it’s not coming this holiday season.

At the moment, we’re not sure if Microsoft will publish the
beta builds of Windows 10X to the testers in the Insider, which
raises fresh questions and concerns about exactly how the OS
might work.

Before we start speculating the rollout plans of Windows 10X,
let’s first establish what we know.

What is Windows 10X?

Windows 10X is also known as Windows Lite internally and it’s
based on
Windows Core OS, which modularizes Windows Shell and other
components.

This new operating system is designed to run on both
single-screen and dual-screen form factors, and it’s also
modern without legacy components.

Windows 10X single screen

In addition, Windows 10X comes with a new user interface that
ditches live tiles support for icons and it also allows Windows
Update to happen seamlessly in the background.

Windows 10X release date

According to sources, Microsoft is currently planning to
deliver Windows 10X sometime in the first half of 2021 without
native support for Win32 apps. The first single-screen Windows
10X PCs are also set to arrive in the second quarter or Spring
of 2021.

To make room for Windows 10X launch,
Microsoft also appears to be considering changes to its Windows
10 upgrade cycle. Going forward, Windows 10 will receive
only one feature update per year and next year’s feature update
is expected to arrive after Windows 10X launches in the market.

After the launch of Windows 10X in Q2 2021, Microsoft will
begin rolling out the first feature update for Windows 10.

In the spring of 2022, we’ll see the first big Windows 10X
feature update that will add support for dual-screen hardware,
such as Surface Neo and Lenovo ThinkPad Fold.

Windows 10X loses Win32 apps virtualization support

Unfortunately, Microsoft has reportedly removed the
virtualization technology from the internal builds of Windows
10X. This would have allowed Win32 apps (desktop or classic
apps) to run smoothly in a container.

Windows 10 Win32 apps
The original idea to run Win32 apps in a container

As we first reported earlier this year, Microsoft is not
satisfied with the
performance of Win32 apps on Windows 10X due to
limitations.

For example, some Win32 apps are struggling to access the
native features available outside the container, which includes
screen sharing and alerts when apps are minimized to the
taskbar.

This is the opposite of the Windows 10X ethos, which is
supposed to offer both performance and compatibility at the
same time.

As a result, Windows 10X internal builds have dropped support
for Win32 apps. You can only run UWP and web apps natively,
which would turn Windows 10X into a proper lightweight OS for
Chromebook-like devices.

Windows 10X desktop

Microsoft will allow early adopters to stream Win32 apps via a
web service, which works only when you have an internet
connection.

While the plans are always subject to change, Microsoft has
internally decided not to move forward with the dual-screen
model for another year.

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