Windows 10X Won't Ship in 2021 as Microsoft Shifts Priorities [Update: Confirmed]

Illustration for article titled Windows 10X Won't Ship in 2021 as Microsoft Shifts Priorities [Update: Confirmed]
Image: Microsoft

Despite being announced back in the fall of 2019 and having already suffered from multiple delays, a new report is claiming that Windows 10X won’t ship in 2021 and possibly may never see an official retail launch.

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The latest on Windows 10X’s development comes from longtime Windows insider Brad Sams at Petri, who according to “people familiar with the company’s plans” claims Microsoft will not release Windows 10X this year, and that “the OS as you know it today, will likely never arrive.”

In the report, Sams says following a number of setbacks, Microsoft has shifted resources away from the development of Windows 10X and back to core Windows 10, citing renewed questions from within Microsoft about the need for a more lightweight offshoot of its existing OS.

It seems one of the biggest issues for Windows 10X is that based on early customer feedback, Windows 10X didn’t really address challenges people face today, with Windows 10X also potentially causing increased fragmentation within the Windows 10 ecosystem.

Originally, Windows 10X was intended for use on dual-screen devices like Microsoft’s Surface Neo, before it shifted gears to become a more stripped-down version of Windows 10 meant to compete with Google’s ChromeOS.

However, with the release of the Surface Neo still nowhere in sight and Microsoft facing increasing competition from a new generation of ARM-based devices—most notably Apple’s M1-based gadgets—it seems Microsoft has decided to refocus its attention on support for ARM in Windows, while also choosing to roll features planned for Windows 10X back into core Windows 10.

With Windows 10 coming up on its sixth birthday in July, Sams says Microsoft is focusing even more on Sun Valley, which is Windows 10's next big update that looks to include some major visual refreshes to the Windows 10 interface, a revamped Start menu, increased gesture support for Windows 10's tablet mode, and more.

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While Windows 10x may have now been put on the backburner, Sams says Microsoft is still planning to migrate a number of Windows 10X features into core Windows 10, with the most likely candidates right now being app containers and some of Windows 10X’s UI elements.

One of the biggest questions that remain is how the deprioritization of Windows 10 will affect more futuristic devices like the Surface Neo and Asus’ Project Precog, which were dual-screen laptops designed to leverage some of the new multi-display features built into Window 10X. However, without an OS to properly support their innovative designs, it’s likely that those devices will also get delayed until Microsoft can build similar functionality into standard Windows 10.

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But stepping back, with Microsoft originally saying “Windows 10 is the last version of Windows” prior to the OS’s initial launch in 2015, perhaps it’s quite fitting that Windows 10X never ends up seeing the light of day.

[Update: 5/18 at 4:05 PM ET] Following previous reports that Microsoft wouldn’t release Windows 10X this year, in a new blog post published today Microsoft quietly confirmed that Windows 10X is being deprioritized and that a number of features intended for Windows 10X will now be rolled into core Windows 10 sometime in the future.

“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. 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.”

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

Lintor
Lintor

My bar for what I want Windows to do keeps getting lower.

A this point I just want them to stop fucking with the control panel and moving everything into their mess of settings that is becoming exactly as unintuitive as the control panel it seeks to replace, and still fails to bring in the complete features, and is actively making things more fragmented within the OS (and therefore, is worse).

Like changing audio devices, setting the default communication device (and having them be separate since a lot of communication apps understand the difference), some of that is possible in the new settings but was so much easier in the control panel when it was literally right click on device and click set.

Similarly, most network settings in the settings app aren’t actually better than the View Network Connections the control panel has had since forever (XP at least, if not 98)

And I can’t even not update (or do security updates only) because they keep locking certain component updates I actually need, like updates to WSL (The Windows Subsystem for Linux) behind these larger updates, when they absolutely could be updating components separately.