Microsoft's Windows 10X could arrive on cheaper laptops to compete with Chromebooks

Microsoft's Windows 10X could arrive on cheaper laptops to compete with Chromebooks
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Windows 10X was originally planned as a lightweight, flexible operating system for dual-screen and foldable laptops. That's no longer the case. Since revealing the OS late last year, Microsoft has been forced to rethink its plans. 

Windows 10X will now first arrive on traditional single-screen devices and, based on the latest rumors, it will compete directly with Chromebooks (via ExtremeTech). 

Windows 10X is a good fit as a Chromebook rival. Along with improved multitasking, the operating system will have a simplified, streamlined interface that promises faster speeds and improved ease-of-use compared with Windows 10 Home. And since it's a cloud-based OS, not weighed down by cumbersome programs, Windows 10X could be perfect for inexpensive, low-power laptops. 

Microsoft will give Windows a much-needed face-lift when it launches Windows 10X; the Start Menu will be completely redesigned and File Explorer is receiving a long-overdo update. Windows 10X will also arrive with a new Action Center, the notification center where you can quickly adjust important settings. In the new operating system, Wi-Fi, cellular data, Bluetooth, airplane mode, rotation lock and projection will be default quick settings, although you'll still be allowed some level of customization. 

When Google launched Chrome OS in 2011, it gave people a lightweight operating system with a familiar web-based interface. In the years that followed, Chromebooks became immensely popular among the K-12 education sector and as the first laptops for young kids. Now Windows 10X wants to eat away at Chrome OS' growing market share during the peak of its popularity.

Coronavirus causes shift

Microsoft reportedly switched gears from optimizing Windows 10X for dual-screen and foldable devices to traditional clamshell laptops when the impact of the coronavirus pandemic became clear. Demand for traditional laptops and tablets have exponentially increased as people are stuck at home for work or school. 

Microsoft alerted PC manufacturers about its change of heart and how dual-screen devices can't ship with Windows 10X this year, as previously planned. Lenovo is still expected to launch the ThinkPad X1 Fold running Windows 10 Pro, but other companies relying on Windows 10X to run on foldables, like Dell with Concept Ori, will have to wait.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.