Windows 10X originally had to debut on dual-screen devices, such as the Surface Neo, before later appearing on laptops. Last May, Microsoft announced a “pivot” for “focusing on single-screen devices running Windows 10X” amid a wave of work from home. An “almost final version” of Windows 10X has already expired, and it reveals some key similarities with Chrome OS.
The Verge’s Tom Warren shared a pair of videos on Twitter tonight showing the compilation of Windows 10X. On a ZDNet report from last july, this operating system is due to launch in the spring and is aimed “mainly at business (especially front-line workers) and education”
First we see that the Windows 10X home screen consists of a taskbar and wallpaper. It’s not clear if files, folders, and applications can be attached to the desktop, but Chrome OS doesn’t have that feature either. This approach is simpler to help maintain synchronization across devices and keep files from being placed in more than one location. In the meantime, open or fixed applications on the taskbar are centered, as on a Chromebook, instead of filling in from left to right in Windows 10.
The first item below opens the full-screen launcher, which begins with the “Search the web or your devices” box. By comparison, Chrome OS prompts users to “Search for your device, apps, settings, network …”
This is followed by a network that includes both “applications and websites”. The first probably consists of Universal Windows Platform applications, as we are talking about 10X (via Windows Central) does not support the native version of Win32 software, while Progressive Web Apps constitute the latter category. From this launcher, Microsoft, like Google with Android apps, makes no distinction between the nature of the apps.
Only 15 apps are displayed at a time, with the “Show All” button in the upper right corner. The “Recent” tab below this surface files and is in particular from the carousel that Chrome OS should highlight one or two Documents, Tabs and Applications.
Meanwhile, touching the time in the lower right corner opens Quick Settings. Arranged in a grid, users can make changes without leaving this panel as long as there is a slider to adjust the volume. Like Chrome OS, it can be collapsed to show only key preferences, while your profile image also appears here.
Another key similarity to the Chromebook experience is how Notifications appear in maps just above Quick Settings with Clear All at the top right.
Aside from the visual similarities, the most important part of Windows 10X can be the setup process. To this compilation, Warren notes how a Microsoft account and Internet access are required for registration. This isn’t much different from Chrome OS, which requires a Google Account – although Guest View is always available – to sync bookmarks, apps, files, and settings between devices.
Along with relying on online applications, this time that Microsoft continues Windows, it proves that Google had the right idea with Chrome OS. Google’s main flaw in 2009 – with the first consumer devices coming two years later – was that the cloud-based operating system would be the future.
The last decade has shown that online document editing, cloud-based photo / video storage, game streaming and web applications are enough to meet the needs of most people. As part of this new reality, applications and services are not locked to a single platform, but rather live online for any browser operating system. This allows the actual computer hardware to be coded at an affordable price.
Now Microsoft is following the same path to offer those cheaper devices that compete better with the Chromebook. While Windows 10 is still in Windows 10X, it’s clear that the cloud is the main driver for the experience. Meanwhile, the visual similarities with Chrome OS – not Windows – more or less prove that people are familiar and comfortable with the web model, so much so that past paradigms of the interface can be removed for something much simpler.
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