On October 2nd of 2019, Microsoft announced a new version of Windows that was in development – Windows 10x.
Microsoft’s position is that their customers expect more flexibility from their PCs and new more powerful hardware requires a new version of Windows 10 that will rise to meet this opportunity.
This is how they have positioned Windows 10X.
Designed primarily for dual-screen PC’s, Windows 10X will allow people to take notes on one screen while reviewing the full project proposal on the other while in transit; sit down at a table to write a thoughtful email on a hardware keyboard while waiting for lunch; and then watch a video, browse the web or read a book.
The primary benefit they seem to be sharing for this new Operating System is mobile flexibility.
Since the new Operating System is extremely similar to Windows 10, they claim that Windows 10 user will be able to use Windows 10X with practically no learning curve.
The User Interface
When you launch an app, it will launch on one side of your device. It’s a bit like Windows 10’s Snap feature—apps will open on one screen (or one side of the device) rather than across both displays.
You can drag an application’s window to the middle edge of the screen and release it to “span” the application across both displays. Microsoft says this doesn’t just extend the app across both screens—it also “optimizes” the app’s interface so the app can intelligently take advantage of both screens.
An enhanced Touch Bar
Microsoft also showed off Windows “recognizing the keyboard” placed on one side of the display and revealing the “Wunderbar,” sort of a super-charged version of Apple’s MacBook touchbar that offers buttons, a trackpad, and even a large section of screen you can play videos on.
Microsoft said this is something “Neo” does, but it’s likely part of Windows 10X and one of the many new interface tricks being added for these devices.
Windows Hello and facial recognition enhancements
Windows 10X will also improve the Windows Hello facial recognition authentication experience.
“When the screen turns on you are immediately brought to a state of authentication; unlike Windows 10 where you first need to dismiss the lock curtain before authenticating,” says Microsoft. “Upon waking the device, Windows Hello Face instantly recognizes the user and will immediately transition to their desktop.”
A modern file explorer
Microsoft has also mentioned a “Modern File Explorer.” The company has long been working on a more modern Universal Windows App (UWP) version of the traditional File Explorer, and it appears this will finally debut with Windows 10X.
It will likely be touch-friendly, and simplified for access to documents stored in Office 365, OneDrive, and other cloud services.
A simplified Action Center
Microsoft is also simplifying the Action Center (notification center) and quick settings in Windows 10X. This will make it quicker to access critical device settings, and prioritize showing important ones like battery life.
Windows 10X will also support customization here, but Wi-Fi, cell data, Bluetooth, airplane mode, rotation lock, and projection are all default quick settings.
Enhanced battery life
Windows 10x will also have enhanced battery optimization that will deliver battery life that can drive not just one, but two screens.
No More Live Tiles
Part of optimizing the operating system for dual-screen devices seems to be the removal of Live Tiles.
A new type of Start Menu
There’s a new Start menu with a simplified, icon-based application and website launcher. This appears to be the leaked Start menu from earlier this year.
In Windows 10X, Microsoft now refers to the Start Menu as the Launcher, which has a stronger emphasis on local search: “Search is seamlessly integrated with web results, available apps, and specific files on your device,” says Microsoft.
“Recommended content is dynamically updated based on your most frequently and recently used apps, files, and websites.”
How much work has been done?
Microsoft is still in the early stages of development and they announced this early to get feedback from the marketplace about how this might work. A lot is still in progress and in flux and will become clearer as time goes on.
Windows 10X will be available on dual-screen and foldable devices starting in the fall of 2020, in time for the holiday season. These will include both Microsoft Surface and devices from several Windows ecosystem partners including ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
The first wave of devices will vary in size, design and specs, and be powered by Intel.
A Windows 10 Upgrade?
Windows 10X is only designed for new dual-screen PCs and not as a Windows 10 upgrade. If you currently run Windows 10 on a regular desktop or laptop, this OS update will not apply to you.
A video by Brad Sams explaining more
In summary, we don’t know a lot about what is coming but we do know that Microsoft is aggressively trying to be present on as many form factors as they can be. Stay tuned to this site for more news and updates regarding Windows 10x.