Microsoft announced Windows 10X at the October 2 event if this also unveiled devices like Surface Neo and Surface Duo, and also the company described it as an operating system specifically designed for dual-screen and foldable PCs.
But based on a recently-discovered internal document that got leaked to the web, Windows 10X is a lot more than that, as Microsoft doesn’t necessarily want to restrict its use simply to this new category of devices.
So today we’re likely to discuss not only the objective of Windows 10X, but also some of the features that it is supposed to bring, although it’s vital that you remember that the operating system hasn’t been finalized and certain details could change by the time the RTM build is signed off.
Also targeted at conventional laptops
One of the things that Microsoft did not announce during the October 2 unveiling is the fact that Windows 10X can also be used on “clamshells,” which virtually defines the traditional laptop category. A paragraph in the leaked document indicates clamshells will indeed be supported by Windows 10X:
“For both clamshells and foldables, the taskbar will be the same model with a series of ‘levers’. […] We want to build these levers to address the deltas forwards and backwards experiences, while still building off the same initial model.”
For now, it’s not clear when the first device running Windows 10X is projected to go live, but it’ll easily be installed on the top Neo being released by the holidays of 2020.
To be ready in the first quarter of 2020
While the first wave of Windows 10X devices is expected at the end of 2020, the operating system will in fact be finalized within the first months of the season, possibly together with Windows 20H1. According to Microsoft’s release calendar, 20H1 is a result of RTM in March, while the production build should make its way to production devices in April or May.
What this means is Windows 10X could actually be placed on a brand new device way before Surface Neo sees daylight, and given than clamshells also support it, there’s a chance this indeed happens. Obviously, case a guess at this time, but I do expect Windows 10X devices to become announced before the Surface Neo gets the green light.
Like Windows 10, Windows 10X will come with a taskbar, only that it’ll be optimized for foldables and dual-screen devices. The approach will be very familiar, so users is going to be permitted to switch between apps using the taskbar, launch them, pin and arrange apps and websites because they want. The beginning menu, the task switcher, and quick actions will be pinned to the taskbar by default.
The taskbar will even include other familiar features, for example he so-called glomming, which Microsoft describes because the “taskbar behavior where multiple cases of an application are grouped together underneath the same icon.”
The Start menu is called “Launcher,” and based on Microsoft, “it helps users start and resume tasks quickly.”
Just like on Windows 10, the Launcher groups certain key features, like search, app shortcuts, and recommended content, and Microsoft explains these are “dynamic updates according to your most often used and recently used apps, files, and websites.” Again, this can be a behavior already on Windows 10.
Pre-loaded and recommended apps
Windows 10X includes a lot of pre-installed apps, including Microsoft Edge, Mail, Calendar, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Onenote, Mail, Teams, Whiteboard, To Do, Photos, Store, File Explorer and others.
Microsoft will allow up to 4 OEM apps to come pre-loaded with Windows 10X.
Additionally, the company says that Windows 10X can display “up to 10 high-confidence recommendations at any given time.”
Windows 10X will also overhaul the lockscreen by increasing the knowledge about Windows Hello. Facial recognition will be the recommended authentication system, and Windows 10X improves the current implementation by looking into making the procedure much smoother.
Dismissing the lock screen is no longer required, so when getting out of bed the device, Windows Hello automatically recognizes the user’s face and logs to the desktop.
Modern File Explorer
Windows 10X includes a contemporary form of File Explorer. The company has worked on the modern interpretation of the file manager for some time already, however it appears like Windows 10X would be the first OS flavor to create it to the market.
There’s a high probability this overhauled file manager makes its way to Windows 10 as well, but timing specifics aren’t yet available not to mention, it’s a decision that Microsoft will make at a later time.