Microsoft Windows 10X will eventually power several more devices than just lightweight laptops. The company behind the modular operating system has reportedly begun testing Windows 10X on internal and unreleased hardware.
Windows 10X, Microsoft’s lightweight, versatile, and more specifically, modular, iteration of the Windows 10 operating system, will work on a wider spectrum of devices. Technically speaking, Microsoft is thinking beyond the traditional Intel x86 processors.
Microsoft Windows 10X to run on ARM-powered notebooks and convertibles?
Microsoft Windows 10X has had a very interesting journey. It started off as an alternative to Windows 10 OS. The full-fledged operating system, when installed fully, takes up considerable resources to store and run.
On the other hand, Microsoft designed Windows 10X with modularity and efficiency as priorities. Over the years, Windows 10X was seen running on different form factors with processors from Intel, and AMD.
— Craig T. Hall (@craigthall) December 31, 2020
In late 2019, Microsoft indicated it was limiting Windows 10X to Intel chipsets only. Back then, the modular and lightweight operating system could run reliably only on Intel CPUs. The OS had several known and potential compatibility issues as well as problems with emulation on ARM architecture.
But a lot of time has passed since. Microsoft has addressed several issues, bugs, and boosted the efficiency and reliability of Windows 10 on ARM or WoA. The latest Microsoft Surface Book series with an ARM-based SQ2 chipset is a testament to the company’s focused efforts to run Windows 10 on ARM architecture.
Interestingly, even Apple’s M1 chipset is capable of running Windows 10 very efficiently. The Apple M1 is based on ARM cores and relies on the Rosetta set of instructions to run the WoA iteration.
Windows 10X to rely on Web Apps or UWP to run efficiently on low-powered devices:
Microsoft has now internally started testing Windows 10X on its own hardware. This strongly suggests Windows 10X could eventually power ARM-based devices in the near future.
The ARM-based chipsets should be cheaper than Intel or AMD. This directly means more affordable options for students/teachers and frontline workers.
However, the applicability and scope of the Windows 10X devices will inevitably be rather limited. Microsoft should hope that it does not turn out to be another Windows RT, an obsolete or discontinued mobile operating system that the company built way back in 2012.
— Chad Adams (@chadradams) November 9, 2020
Windows 10X already lacks support for true desktop apps. Users have to rely completely on Web Apps, also known as Progressive Web Apps (PWA). However, Microsoft is already building several apps on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Windows 10X should be the first-ever operating system to come preinstalled with web apps of popular platforms and applications. The UWP variants are invariably lighter and faster as the majority of processing happens in the cloud.
It is interesting to note that Microsoft is already developing a “Cloud PC” infrastructure. Such a cloud-based remotely operated PC session will offer regular desktop apps over an internet connection.
This essentially means Windows 10X won’t support local user accounts. In other words, Microsoft could mandate the creation of the accounts to use these services, just like Apple does with the iCloud and Apple ID.