Microsoft kills Windows 10X

Microsoft Windows 10X [logo]Image: Microsoft

WIndows 10X is dead. Long live Windows 10.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it has decided to discontinue Windows 10X, its slimmed-down alternative to Windows 10, and will take some of the Windows 10X technology and incorporate it into Windows 10 as a whole. The announcement was made on the same day that the latest major Windows 10 upgrade released.

Earlier this month, reports circulated that Microsoft had postponed Windows 10X, potentially as a consequence of the pandemic and competitive pressures. On Tuesday, Microsoft positioned the cancellation of Windows 10X as the result of customer feedback. 

Microsoft Windows 10X windows 10x start Mark Hachman / IDG

“Following a year-long exploration and engaging in conversations with customers, we realized that the technology of Windows 10X could be useful in more ways and serve more customers than we originally imagined,” John Cable, Microsoft’s vice president of program management, Windows servicing and delivery, wrote in a blog post. “We concluded that the 10X technology shouldn’t just be confined to a subset of customers.

“Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company,” Cable added.

Cable said that some of the Windows 10X technology had already been migrated to Windows 10, specifically the Windows Insider beta builds. These include a new app container technology being integrated into Microsoft Defender Application Guard, an enhanced Voice Typing experience, and a new, modernized touch keyboard.

“Our teams continue to invest in areas where the 10X technology will help meet our customer needs as well as evaluate technology experiences both in software and hardware that will be useful to our customers in the future,” Cable added.

In 2019, Microsoft announced Windows 10X at a New York event that also marked the debut of the Surface Neo, a folding tablet that was originally designed to run a version of Windows. The Neo hasn’t shipped, either. While our hands-on with the dual-screen version of Windows 10X was cool, Microsoft then moved Windows 10X away from dual-screen devices and back to a single-screen interface. Suddenly, Windows 10X and its simplified UI was seen as a replacement for Windows 10 S and a challenge to Chromebooks. Microsoft also cancelled a “container” model that would help preserve legacy software. That didn’t leave Windows 10X that much to differentiate it from Windows, apparently.

Now, the thinking is that some of these Windows 10X elements will be added to “Sun Valley,” a larger Windows 10 21H2 refresh expected to debut this fall. It’s a good repurposing of Microsoft’s technology, though still a disappointment who were hoping from something different from Microsoft.

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