To date, people mostly think of Windows as an operating system for desktops and laptops. Despite Microsoft’s efforts since Windows 8 and various “special editions” like Windows 10 S, the OS has struggled to fully adapt a user experience that could rival the likes of iPadOS or even Android when it comes to touch-based devices. Windows 10X, which was initially intended for the fully touch-centric Surface Neo, could be the break that Microsoft needs and a new video showing it in action could prove exactly that.
Of course, Windows has had touch support for years, even on the “regular” version of Windows 10. Given that it has to juggle between new and old software, however, it’s not really surprising that touch support may feel half-baked and just crammed into an OS that’s still primarily driven by keyboard and mouse.
Windows 10X, which is being poised as Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, isn’t going to have that duality, at least not initially. It will support only Microsoft’s UWP apps as well as PWA web apps, which are able to support touch gestures thanks to web browser engines like Chromium. Support for win32 is expected to come later but running in a sandbox.
Developer XDeltaXForce recently shared a video showing how all of this plays out in practice. He was able to install a test image of Windows 10X on a Surface Pro 7 and, save for some problems with the gyro sensor and audio, it works almost perfectly. The video demonstrates how the UI can be driven just by touch gestures alone. Of course, it also only showed the stock Windows 10X apps and parts so that’s pretty much expected.
The big question is whether Windows 10X will succeed where its predecessors failed miserably. Microsoft is probably banking on the app narrative having changed considerably over the years, now leaning in favor of PWAs and its UWP apps that few will miss win32 programs save for the most advanced of users.