Despite taking over as head of Windows Experience/client in February, Microsoft’s chief product officer, Panos Panay, hasn’t said much about what’s next for the desktop operating system.
However, in a new blog post, Panay dives into what’s next for Windows. The head of Surface touches on Windows 10X, the upcoming OS designed for dual-screen devices as well the near-term launch of the Windows 10 May 2020 update.
First up, Panay officially confirmed that Microsoft was changing its focus with Windows 10X. Despite initial plans for the new OS to power dual-screen Windows devices, Microsoft will pivot Windows 10X to single-screen devices instead. The reasoning behind the refocusing is, unsurprisingly, COVID-19.
Panay writes that Microsoft wants to help “meet customers where they are” with Windows. ZDNet suggests that means focussing on tried-and-true form factors instead of developing new ones. That tracks with other recent decisions from Microsoft, including the postponing of the dual-screen Surface Neo due out later this year. Ultimately, it means we’ll see Windows 10X on single-screen devices first before dual-screen devices arrive in the future.
Additionally, ZDNet reports that internal rumours suggest the containerization in Windows 10X wasn’t working as well as planned. Back in February, Microsoft detailed how Windows 10X would run some app platforms, such as the traditional Win32 platform used by most Windows apps, in virtual containers. Unfortunately, apps running in containers don’t have great compatibility, according to ZDNet.
Updates on the way for Windows 10
Along with the Windows 10X news, Panay also wrote about the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 update. The update will arrive “starting this month” and will include a more streamlined way to pair Bluetooth devices in Windows. Additionally, the new update will feature an improved tablet experience and some fun new changes including access to ‘kamoji’ directly from the Windows emoji keyboard.
While Panay didn’t get into specifics about when the update would roll out, ZDNet says it will arrive for manufacturers starting May 5th, developers on May 12th and consumers starting May 28th. The update timeline was delayed in part by COVID-19 and in part by Microsoft decision to push out a patch for a zero-day bug discovered earlier this year.
Finally, Panay revealed that every month, people are spending 4 trillion minutes on Windows 10. That marks a 75 percent increase year-over-year and just goes to show how much people are relying on computers during the pandemic.