Microsoft has reportedly shelved its new Windows 10X operating system (OS) and will instead continue to focus on improving Windows 10.
The company first introduced Windows 10X in October 2019, originally as an OS specifically designed for dual-screen devices.
Microsoft announced that the new operating system would be a lighter, more simplified version of Windows 10 that would be launched alongside the Surface Neo in 2020.
The OS was intended to compete with Chrome OS, featuring an updated Start menu without live tiles and multitasking improvements – a modern, cloud-powered version of Windows.
However, it appears that the OS could no longer be released due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to concentrate on single-screen computers.
Citing people familiar with Microsoft’s plans, IT knowledge base Petri said “the company has shifted resources to Windows 10 and 10X is on the back burner, for now”.
Due to the delay and possible shelving of Windows 10X, Microsoft plans to integrate some of the features developed for the operating system into upcoming Windows 10 updates.
Even though it is still unclear which of these features will be incorporated into future updates, Petri claimed that elements like UI updates and app containers may be included.
One of these could be shifting the Start button to the centre of the taskbar.
Microsoft has also been steadily modernising the Windows 10 user interface with File Explorer updates and new system icons, which includes the scrapping of Windows 95-era icons.
These visual improvements are part of the company’s major ‘Sun Valley’ update for Windows 10, which is expected to be released in the second half of 2021.
Surge in PC sales
With at least 1.3 billion Windows 10 devices currently in use, it is easy to see why Microsoft wants to focus on enhancing its current operating system, instead of introducing a new variant.
Despite the global chip shortage, the PC market has not slowed down.
According to a report from research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totalled 69.9 million units during Q1 2021 – a huge increase of 32% compared to Q1 2020.
“This growth should be viewed in the context of two unique factors: comparisons against a pandemic-constrained market and the current global semi-conductor shortage,” said research director at Gartner, Mikako Kitagawa.
In addition, the market rebounded from a weak Q1 2020 to record the fastest year-over-year growth.