Windows 10X Reportedly Won’t Ship in 2021 as Microsoft Shifts Priorities

Windows 10X Reportedly Won’t Ship in 2021 as Microsoft Shifts Priorities
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.

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.

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.

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.