Microsoft’s initiative to produce ARM-based Windows 10X has hit a number of obstacles, with a report stating that devices using it will not be released until 2021, with dual-screen devices arriving in 2022.
The plan to revive Windows on tablets, notebooks and smartphones was first introduced in late 2019, when Microsoft launched Surface Neo, a tablet that used a pair of 9-inch screens on a 360-degree hinge. At the same time, it suggested that there was also a smaller version of the same type of device called the Surface Duo on the cards, consisting of a smartphone with two 5.6-inch screens.
Although Microsoft initially claimed that the two devices should be shipped by the end of the year, rumors from April 2020 indicated that Microsoft would not ship the products in 2020. Now, a report from ZDNet claims Microsoft’s software for the project won’t even be released in 2020.
According to the report, the first single-screen devices based on Windows 10X, designed primarily for business and education, will be launched in the spring of 2021. Two-screen variants are believed to be launched in early 2022.
Windows 10X is not Windows 10, but a variant with the codename “Lite” or “Santorini” that has a modular construction. Originally designed for the Surface Neo, but intended for use on many different devices from different vendors, the operating system has a simpler interface and different hooks to allow dual screen computing.
The first version of Windows 10X will be more limited in usability, as it does not support Win32 container applications. Alternatively, support for Universal Windows Platform applications and web applications is believed to be provided initially, although support for Win32 applications can still be provided by taking advantage of Microsoft’s Cloud PC virtualization service, even in 2022 or later.
To boost the development of Windows 10X, sources say Microsoft is considering limiting Windows 10 feature updates to one update per year, allowing developers to work on both operating systems simultaneously. The speculation has Windows 10X feature updates that occur in the first half of each year, while Windows 10 feature changes would be set for the second half.
While the development of Windows 10X, in addition to ARM-based hardware such as Surface Neo and Duo, allows Microsoft to compete in the mobile computing space, it does so while fighting Apple products. In addition to the existing work with ARM chips in the iPhone and iPad ranges, Apple is also a wholesaler, moving from Intel processors to the Apple Silicon it designed, a change that is likely to cause huge waves in the computer industry.