Windows 10X: Microsoft reportedly shelves its ambitious lightweight operating system

Windows 10X is apparently dead. Microsoft’s long-awaited Windows 10X operating system, its Chrome OS competitor, has been cancelled. According to Petri, Microsoft won’t ship the operating system anytime soon. The Windows 10X, which many thought would be a fresh take on Windows 10, was supposed to come first on single-screen devices designed for education and business use.

While Microsoft may have stopped the development of Windows 10X, the company is still expected to bring some elements of the operating system to Windows 10 later this year. It is said that the Redmond, Washington-based software powerhouse is reportedly working on the updated version of Windows 10 with a refreshed UX. Codenamed “Sun Valley”, Windows 10 will see a brand new user interface and app containers.

The cancellation of Windows 10, if the report is true, is a big blow to Microsoft. When the company announced Windows 10X at its high-profile event in New York in 2019, it said the operating system would only run on dual-screen and foldable PCs. Microsoft also said the first wave of Windows 10X-powered devices would include its dual-screen Surface Neo, which would go on sale in the fall of 2020. Last year, the tech giant revealed that Windows 10X will first appear on single-screen devices. Microsoft cited Covid-19 as the reason for the change in plans.

Windows 10X was built on code from a universal Windows codebase called Windows Core OS. The idea was to develop Windows 10X as a lite version of Windows 10 with a modern interface. Think of Windows 10X as more stripped-down than Windows 10. Windows 10X was designed to run a new type of PCs running on Intel-based processors, to begin with, and possibly ARM-based CPUs in the future.

Microsoft originally said that Windows 10X would run Win32 desktop apps like Word and Excel, but only inside containers. Later, multiple reports claimed that there will be no Win32 apps support when Windows 10X initially ships, though it’s likely to be added later.

In a way, Microsoft’s slimmed-down Windows 10X operating system was an answer to Google’s Chrome OS. Sales of Chromebooks have exploded during the pandemic. A new report from the market researchers at Canalys claims that Chromebook sales surged 275 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. Microsoft would need a legit Chome OS rival, but the company has somewhere realised the Windows 10X wasn’t enough to compete with lightweight, web-centric Chrome OS.

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