Microsoft Pivots Windows 10X to Single-Screen Cloud Devices

Microsoft preps next big Windows 10 update and and rethinks Windows 10X

Microsoft's decision to put dual-screen Windows 10X devices on hold may be good news for consumers who want the familiarity of Windows in a single-screen, lightweight, cloud-friendly experience.

Panos Panay
Panos Panay holds the Windows 10X-running Surface Neo, which you are unlikely to see this year.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Acknowledging that the world has changed since October, Microsoft is putting its Windows 10X dual-screen plans on hold and shifting focus of the rebuilt operating system to single-screen, cloud friendly systems.

What happened: In a blog post, Windows and Devices lead Panos Panay described how much things have changed since he unveiled dual-screen Surface Duo and Windows 10X, the refashioned version of Windows that would run it. One way things changed is how much the millions of us suddenly forced to work from home now rely on our trusted, single-screen, Windows 10 systems. Since March, Windows use increased, according to Microsoft, by 75% year-over-year.

What's Windows 10X? This version of Windows rebuilds the shell, and strips away the Start Menu, Live Tiles, and Tablet Mode. It's also optimized for security and, yes, dual-screen activities.

Not this year: However, Panay wrote that the first expression of Windows 10X consumers will see this year are single-screen systems. No word on when Surface Neo will arrive, though this year sounds unlikely. "We will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market," wrote Panay.

Your regular Windows: Microsoft is also preparing the next traditional Windows 10 update which will drop, for free, on Windows 10 users systems this month. It promises, among other things:

  • Better Windows Update controls
  • Improved Bluetooth controls
  • Improved Cortana and chat-based UI
  • Virtual Desktop renaming
  • Paint and WordPad become optional features
  • Drag and drop with your gaze
  • A tablet mode that's more like desktop (later this year)

The company will reveal more about this update and future Windows 10X plans during its virtual Build developers event on May 19.

Bottom line: Microsoft, like virtually every other major technology company, is adjusting its business strategy on the fly as it pitches in on the COVID-19 pandemic battle efforts and recalibrates its business strategy. That's a smart move as consumers spend more time figuring out ways to get day-to-day task done remotely, and maybe spend a little less time thinking about how to use Windows differently. Panos wrote, "As we continue to put customers’ needs at the forefront, we need to focus on meeting customers where they are now."

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