Windows 10X is a new Microsoft operating system for notebooks with multiple screens. The novelty takes advantage of the features of Windows 10 and launches a more user-friendly interface for interaction with touches. It was presented at the launch of Surface Neo, the brand’s first dual-screen laptop, announced along with the Surface Duo smartphone and Surface Earbuds phone. The company disclosed few details about the software, but a recently leaked document may give clues about the future of the manufacturer’s latest move. See everything you need to know about the new Windows.
What changes when compared to Windows 10
Instead of developing a system from scratch, the company chose to take advantage of most of the existing features in conventional Windows 10 and implemented interface improvements to facilitate user interaction through touch. The software has smarter multitasking, organizing apps on different screens on the same device or maximizing a single program on more than one display.
Some multitasking skills from Windows 10X appear in Surface Neo’s promotional video. The images show that it is possible to open apps on the same split-screen in half, move one of these apps to a second screen and expand a single program to occupy the two displays displaying different information on each side: the email app leaves the inbox on one side and a message or composition window on the other side, for example.
In Surface Neo, Windows 10X places the virtual keyboard in the horizontal portion of the screen and understands when the physical keyboard is active to take advantage of what’s left of the display to display information from other apps or simulate a trackpad. Also, the taskbar now aligns the fixed app icons in the center and the wholly revamped Start Menu icons.
New Start Menu
One of the new features of Windows 10X is the Start, which receives the first profound change since the arrival of Windows 8. The latest version completely abandons the idea of dynamic blocks and adopts a more Android-like look: the user touches a menu at the bottom of the screen to see a window containing the installed apps and important shortcuts to Office documents, for example.
As with the Google system, Microsoft says that the apps that appear there may change depending on the user’s habits. The company, however, says that the famous menu interface can still change.
Notifications, shortcuts, and unlocking
Notifications are grouped, and Action Center shortcuts (side menu on the right of the screen) are redesigned, with smaller buttons and new gradation bars for brightness and volume adjustments. Some functions previously concentrated on Start also move to this window, such as settings and the power menu.
Other features include a faster unlock system: when you light up the screen on your notebook or tablet, Windows 10X scans the user’s face immediately to identify and skip the PIN. In traditional Windows 10, you need to swipe a lock screen before accessing facial recognition.
Programs and applications
There is no new application in Windows 10X, but several change their design and functionality. In the official presentation, Microsoft focuses on its programs, such as the Office package and the Edge browser, but also shows third-party app icons, such as Spotify and Netflix. According to the company, the system will be compatible with classic Windows programs developed in the win32 standard, as well as with apps available at the official store. However, there will also be strong compatibility with software that runs on the web in the Progressive Web Apps format.
According to the specialized site Windows Central, Microsoft also reserves a new version of Windows Explorer for Windows 10X. The app would bring more modern design and better usability for touch screen devices. The publication had access to a list of apps that should have compatibility with the new system. These are almost all of the apps that come pre-installed on Windows, including Paint and Notepad, in addition to the Netflix app.
Launch and compatible devices
According to The Verge, Windows 10X will also be intended for conventional laptops, without a double screen. In this modality, the look has fewer changes compared to Windows 10, although it keeps the Start slimmer, displaying apps and documents without the design of dynamic blocks.
However, it is still uncertain when the system will be released. It is not yet available for download, and there is no public test group under Windows Insider. For now, the software is confirmed only on Surface Neo, which still has no release date and is expected only for 2020.
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