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Microsoft confirms Windows 10X is dead

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The dream of a lightweight Windows is over, for now

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft is confirming today that it no longer plans to release Windows 10X. The operating was originally supposed to arrive alongside new dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo, with a more lightweight and simplified interface and features. This was all before the pandemic hit, and Microsoft then decided to prioritize Windows 10X for single-screen laptops instead. Windows 10X is now officially over, and Microsoft is now planning to bring its best bits into Windows 10.

“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,” confirms John Cable, head of Windows servicing and delivery.

Some of that has already started appearing in the form of a new app container technology, better voice typing, and a modernized touch keyboard for Windows 10. Microsoft says it will now “continue to invest in areas where the 10X technology” makes sense for both software and hardware in the future. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see the Surface Neo device now, though.

Microsoft’s Surface Neo device was supposed to ship with Windows 10X.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Windows 10X was going to appear in 2021 as more of a Chrome OS competitor, and Microsoft had spent years trying to modernize Windows in an attempt to bring a more lightweight version to market. Windows RT first released alongside the original Surface tablet in 2012, and then Windows 10 S arrived in 2017. Both failed to simplify Windows, but Windows 10X had some promising features that will now start to appear in Windows 10 instead.

While Microsoft released a smaller Windows 10 May 2021 Update today, a larger one is planned for October. This next major update includes some big visual changes in the form of new system icons, File Explorer improvements, and the end of Windows 95-era icons. Microsoft is also focusing on some key features and additions like fixing the rearranging apps issue on multiple monitors, adding the Xbox Auto HDR feature, and also improving Bluetooth audio support.