Things have generally been quiet on the Windows 10X front in recent months, but today, a handful of new rumors are spilling a lot of details on the upcoming operating system. Not only do these new rumors tell us when Microsoft may launch Windows 10X, but they also explain what the Windows landscape will look like once Windows 10X launches and what limitations the new operating system will have on release.
ZDNet reports today that Microsoft plans to launch Windows 10X in spring 2021, focusing first on single-screen devices meant for enterprise and educational customers. In spring 2022, we’ll see Windows 10X launch for dual-screen devices, according to ZDNet’s sources.
Following the launch of Windows 10X, ZDNet says that Microsoft will shift its Windows 10 update cycle somewhat. Instead of two Windows 10 updates each year, Microsoft will instead begin pushing a Windows 10X update in the spring and then a single Windows 10 update in the fall (or in the first half and second half of the year, respectively). That update schedule could begin as soon as Windows 10X is out the door next year.
Elsewhere on the internet, Windows Central reports that Windows 10X will launch without local support for Win32 apps, a claim that ZDNet corroborated. In place of that local legacy app support, Windows Central says that 10X users will be able to run UMP apps and web apps through Edge, which would turn 10X into a proper Chromebook competitor.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be any Win32 app support at all, though. Microsoft is apparently planning to allow 10X users to stream legacy apps through the cloud, much in the same way it does with Windows Virtual Desktop for enterprise. Originally, the plan was to run Win32 apps in containers through VAIL, but it seems that the low-end, single-screen PCs that will first get 10X won’t be able to use VAIL without big sacrifices to performance and battery life.
The good news is that we’ll see VAIL and, by extension, local Win32 support, back in action when 10X comes to more capable dual-screen devices. Dropping VAIL also means that we could potentially see some ARM-based Windows 10X machines in addition to Intel-based ones.
It’ll be particularly interesting to see if these early, single-screen Windows 10X devices will be able to do anything to chip away at the Chromebook’s market share, particularly when it comes to education. Google has had a lot of time to corner the education space when it comes to low-cost notebooks that primarily run web apps, and one has to wonder if Windows 10X will be arriving too late to the party to make any kind of impact in that area.