Windows 10X, Microsoft’s Chrome OS competitor that was announced in 2019 alongside the Surface Neo, has apparently been shelved, according to a report from Petri. While it’s not clear if Microsoft has completely abandoned the project, it’s not arriving this year and the “company has shifted resources to Windows 10 and 10X is on the back burner,” according to Petri’s sources.
Microsoft has a long and messy history of trying to make ‘light’ versions of Windows that are optimized for mobile devices.
First was the awful Windows RT, the Windows 8-era OS optimized for ARM processors, and then Windows 10 S tried to pare down Windows functionality to improve performance on low-power devices. Neither OS had much success, and both were quickly shelved. It appears Windows 10X is destined for the same fate, except it might never be available to users in the first place.
There’s a good chance the pandemic and recent hardware advances reframed Microsoft’s perspective. The company made a ton of money during the pandemic, with revenue from Windows OEM growing by 10% — all this without the need for a ‘light’ Chrome OS competitor. Laptops processors are performing better than ever too, and even budget devices are more than useable with decent battery life.
This isn’t to say Windows can’t use some improvements; the touchscreen experience still isn’t anywhere near that of Android and iOS, so it’s still best suited as an OS for the mouse and keyboard. Instead, it might make more sense to take some of the work put into Windows 10X and apply it to standard Windows 10, allowing the OS to adapt depending on the type of device it’s being used on.
The company is reportedly planning a major visual overhaul for Windows 10 at its Build conference later this month, so there’s a chance we’ll hear more then. Hopefully the Surface Neo hasn’t been shelved too; it’s still one of the most exciting bits of PC hardware I’ve seen in years.
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