Big doings at the Surface event in NYC on October 2 included yet another attempt at a compact, touch-mostly/only version of Windows 10. Think back to Windows R/T and Windows S (multiple iterations). Now, take a look at this Windows Insider Program blog post. It’s entitled “Introducing Windows X: enabling dual-screen PCs in 2020.” The post also includes some images of potential, pre-release dual screen devices from Microsoft with this statement: we “… shared our vision for a brand-new category of dual-screen devices, including a sneak peek of Surface Neo, soon to be followed by devices from ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo.” The image set included in the blog appears as the lead-in image for this Win10.Guru story above.
What’s Different About Windows 10X?
The foundering points for Windows 10S and R/T alike were lack of support for Win32 applications, aka “normal Windows desktop apps,” as opposed to modern-style UWP apps. As I understand it, Windows 10X will work much like R/T and Windows S did, with a major, major exception: Win32 applications will be available to them on-screen, running as Azure-based OS containers running full-blown Windows 10 in the cloud. I believe that means UWP apps will run locally and natively on Windows 10X, but that users will also be able to open one or more windows on screen within which they can use normal Windows desktop apps as well. Of course, nobody knows yet how many such windows it makes sense to open at any given moment, or how applications in such windows will perform subject to (predominantly wireless) Internet connections. The only latency will be pushing screen info from the cloud to the dual-screen device, and from that device to the cloud to reflect user action and input. Thus, most of the delay will be on the download side rather than the upload side.
Could this be the “killer app” that helps to promote switchover to 5G LTE networking. Maybe yes, maybe no. You have to give MS credit for continuously trying to find ways to slim down Windows 10 and make it available on more devices. Given their prior track record, I’m reminded of the old Yogi Berra bon mot: “It’s deja vu all over again.” But it certainly will be interesting to see how this plays and pans out in the marketplace, and what kind of uptake these devices enjoy following their releases later this year and early next. Am I in the market for a dual-screen device? I don’t know. I’ll probably have to play with one at my nearby MS Store, look carefully at the cost (purchase and communications), and the state of the general exchequer. Again: maybe yes, maybe no. We’ll see.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.