Today, Microsoft released the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, also known as version 21H1. If you want to install it now, you can do that. In the announcement, however, is something unexpected. Microsoft announced that it’s not bringing Windows 10X to market in 2021.
To be clear, Microsoft never actually says that a product is dead, so it uses that “in 2021” language. The product as we know it is gone though, something that was already rumored a couple of weeks ago.
Rather than admitting failure, Microsoft said that Windows 10X features shouldn’t be only for a subset of customers. Instead, it’s going to be folding a bunch of Windows 10X features into regular Windows 10. The Redmond firm said that some of these features are already in the core of Windows 10 if you’re on the Dev channel of the Windows Insider Program.
A bigger thing that it’s going to be bringing the Windows 10 is elements of the Windows 10X shell. A recent leak shows Windows 10X elements in the Action Center, including new swipe gestures. We’ve also heard about floating menus, and of course, rounded corners. The codename for the new design in Windows 10 is called Sun Valley, and it’s coming later this year.
In the blog post though, Microsoft didn’t talk about Sun Valley. In fact, when it talked about killing Windows 10X and bringing some of its features to Windows 10, it didn’t talk about design, arguably one of the most appealing features of the new OS.
Windows 10X was supposed to be the new, modern version of Windows. It was originally announced as a dual-screen operating system that would debut on the Surface Neo. Later, Microsoft postponed the Surface Neo indefinitely, also saying that Windows 10X would be repurposed for single screen devices. At the time, Windows and devices chief Panos Panay said he wanted to meet customers where they are, even though you’d have to buy a new PC anyway.
It would seem that the project was just too ambitious. When it was first shown off, Win32 apps were running in containers. Later, Win32 app support was stripped out entirely, making Windows 10X yet another attempt from Microsoft to run Windows without Win32. Previous attempts like Windows RT and Windows 10S have failed.
But as it stands, Windows 10X is dead, and you shouldn’t expect to hear anything else about it. If you were excited about it and are looking for something else to be excited about, keep an eye out for more Sun Valley changes.