Windows 10X vs. Windows 10: What To Expect

Brian Seeling
December 19, 2019

Microsoft has revolutionized the software space for the last couple of years, and the tech giant seems unrelenting in its efforts to scale new heights in the industry.  As we head into the year 2020 holiday season, you’ll witness the emergence of a new version of Windows 10 - plus a myriad of Microsoft’s Surface devices.  As announced during Microsoft’s October 2 Surface event, the software giant is working on a new version of Windows 10 to support foldable, dual-screen PCs such as the Surface Neo.  The new operating system is referred to as Windows 10X and isn’t much different from the regular version of Windows 10.

483f53c2dcbbfaa041f2642d878eabc9Source: Microsoft 

Windows 10X vs. Windows 10: The Interface

Windows 10X borrows a lot from the regular Windows 10 with the interface being the key difference.  While Windows 10 is designed for devices such as laptops and tablets with a single screen, Windows 10X supports devices with two screens (one on the right and one on the left).

Starting from the taskbar, Windows 10X offers the experience of an iPad. It’s much more centered, laying emphasis on touch.  Microsoft will also include a “levers” system to allow you to pull up the taskbar, the same way you would with the dock in iPad OS.  The Start Menu will sit on the left side of the screen of dual-screen devices. Unlike the current Windows 10 with live tiles, Windows 10X icons are rather static.  The search bar will be on top while the list of websites and apps as well as suggested content will lie at the bottom.

Another difference in the interface is the lock screen.  It will show up right away in Windows 10X, so you can’t dismiss it by sliding up. You will also find an on-screen pin pad and modern file explorer that is heavily optimized for touch.

Windows 10X vs. Windows 10: App and Device Compatibility

With Windows 10X, you won’t have to worry about app and device compatibility.  This is always a controversial topic, especially with Microsoft’s locked-down versions of Windows such as Windows RT, Windows 10 S, and the limitation of Windows 10 on the ARM platform.

So far, it looks like Microsoft will ensure that Windows 10X offers maximum app compatibility.  This means that all your Windows 10 and Win32 apps will still work with Windows 10X.  The operating system doesn’t restrict what content you can download in the Microsoft Store.

App developers also don’t have to do anything to make their applications work with Windows 10X.  The apps should still adapt to the operating system and dual-screen devices, either in single-pane or double-pane mode.

Microsoft’s New Line of Surface Devices

Microsoft has already unveiled the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Earbuds, the Surface Laptop 3, and the Surface Pro X.  The Surface Neo, a double-screened laptop, and Surface Duo phone, a double-screened phone running on Android, are also on the way.  Most of these new Surface products are currently available for pre-order, but the Surface Neo will be available for the 2020 holiday.  Here is a quick look at some impressive features of these surface devices:

Microsoft Surface Duo Phone

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Source: Microsoft via Engadget

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the compact smartphone that can run two applications on two different screens.  The Microsoft Surface Duo runs on Android and will be availed in the 2020 holiday season.  It’s Microsoft’s first return to the mobile space since it dropped Windows Phone years ago.  It has a 360-degree hinge and two 5.6-inch displays. The device can completely fold up when not in use.

Surface Neo

akrales_190930_3649_0115Source: Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The impressive Surface Neo is another surface device that Microsoft plans to launch next holiday season.  Over the years, Microsoft has striven to create unique and amazing software and hardware products, and Surface Neo addresses mobility and cloud-oriented applications.

The Surface Neo is designed with two displays that fold together but can also work independently, allowing you to run two different apps simultaneously.  If you need to type, a hardware keyboard pops up with a complete trackpad.  Moreover, the keyboard sticks to the back of the tablet when not in use.

Microsoft Surface Pro X

RE3oL99Source : Microsoft

Microsoft also unveiled a Qualcomm-powered Surface device for its Windows on ARM platform.  The Microsoft Surface Pro X comes with a 13-inch screen and works like the Surface Pro – a two-in-one device with a detachable keyboard.  The extremely mobile device is only 5.33 mm thick and very light at 1.68 pounds.  Users will especially adore its custom chip with AI, which will add fun features such as simulating eye contact when holding video calls.

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

RE3Cek5Source: Microsoft

If you thought last year’s Surface Headphones were revolutionary, brace yourself for the new Surface Earbuds.  They offer 24 hours of battery life and are compatible with any platform.  Its Gesture controls allow you to play, skip, pause, and change volume.

Moreover, they work with Microsoft Office and support more than 60 languages.  You can simply speak and the earbuds will translate and input voice-to-text into a Word document or PowerPoint presentation.

Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7

RE3r1HGSource: Microsoft

Microsoft also unveiled updates to its regular Surface products.  Surface Laptop 3 will come in 13.5-inch and 15-inch screen sizes.  The laptop is made of aluminum with a soft-touch area around its keyboard to improve productivity.

Final Words

As you can see, Windows10X doesn’t change much of what you already enjoy with Windows 10.  It only adds features that support dual-screen devices that are quickly gaining popularity in the tech space.  If you choose to purchase a new dual-screen device that runs Windows 10X, you’ll need to get accustomed to navigating its new Start Menu and the taskbar layout.  Meanwhile, the regular Windows 10 operating system won’t change and Microsoft will most likely keep updating it as always.

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