Microsoft’s ambitious Chrome OS-alternative Windows 10X could release some time in Spring 2021, according to a ZDNet report citing sources. Windows 10X was initially meant for dual-screen devices and scheduled to arrive this year alongside the Surface Duo.
However, Microsoft has already pushed the release for both. The company said earlier this year that Windows 10X would be released for single-screen devices first, although it didn’t give a timeline to follow.
As per the report, education users and businesses will be first in line to get the single-screen Windows 10X next year. The modular OS will arrive for other single-screen devices, and the initially planned dual-screen devices, in Spring 2022.
No support for Win32 apps out of the box
Windows 10X follows a container-based approach to provide support for various app platforms including Win32, UWP, and web apps.
According to Windows Central, the initial release of Windows 10X will not support legacy Win32 apps out of the box. One big reason: Microsoft hasn’t been able to churn out the desired performance.
As an alternative, the company is expected to provide Win32 app support via a cloud-powered virtualization service. However, the on-device Win32 container may return in future updates.
The changes are also in line with the overall move of putting 10X against Chrome OS as a web-first operating system. Microsoft’s focus has shifted from premium devices to lightweight PCs for business and education sector.
Hence, it is stripping off components to keep up with app performance and battery life. Running Win32 container on such under-powered devices would be a task in itself and might degrade the experience.
Switching to one Windows Update per year
The release of Windows 10X might bring a significant change for the regular Windows 10 users as well. According to ZDNet, there might be just one major Windows 10 feature update from next year, as Microsoft would want more engineers to focus on Windows 10X development.
This means that following the release of Windows 10X for single-screen devices in spring, the regular Windows 10 feature update will arrive in fall 2021. As per current naming, it should be 21H2 unless the company makes some changes.
In the last couple of years, Microsoft has followed the major/minor strategy where the bigger feature update arrives in April (check out Windows 10 2004 features) and a smaller complementary one in the second half of the year.
Anyway, all of these plans are internal should be taken with a grain of salt, and the actual release schedule might change in the future.