(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft has been designing and building a new version of Windows 10, called Windows 10X, for the last couple of years, with the help of hundreds of engineers and designers. Their goal, Microsoft said, is to enable "a new era of mobile productivity and creativity across two screens".

How do you pronounce Windows 10X?

Unlike the iPhone X and iPhone XS, the X in Windows 10X sounds like "ex". So, it'd be wrong to say "Windows ten ten". Make sense?


What is Microsoft Windows 10X?

Windows 10X is a new version of the Windows 10 operating system specifically designed and optimised for dual-screen devices like the new Microsoft Surface Neo. Windows 10 has always been about productivity, but Microsoft wanted to take that to another level with Windows 10X.

The new OS tries to solve two basic problems with Windows 10: The ability to seamlessly use any Windows 10 app across two separate screens, while still being efficient enough to spare the battery life on thin, dual-screen mobile devices so that you can still get your work done. Microsoft therefore came up with a stripped-down, modular version of Windows that offers users a greater degree of control on foldable devices.

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How does Windows 10X work?

Windows 10 apps

Windows 10X should look very familiar to the Windows 10 edition on your PC, with easy access to search and your apps, websites, and files. It even supports the full breadth of Windows 10 apps available - including, crucially, Microsoft Office. There's even some cool new features for these apps. For instance, if you’re in an Outlook email, clicking a link will automatically open it on the other screen.


When you launch an app, it'll open on the screen in which you invoked it. Meanwhile, on the other screen, you can launch another app. You can then run both apps individually on their screens - handy for when you want to cross-reference info or multitask. But if your workflow requires you to focus on one thing, you can do a new "spanning" gesture to expand an app across both displays.


Another interesting Windows 10X feature is the new Wonder Bar. It works like this: Simply place a Bluetooth connected keyboard over one of the screens, and Windows 10X will recognise it and show you a smart bar across a section of the screen that the keyboard isn’t covering. From here, you can watch a picture-in-picture version of a YouTube video, or access emoji and GIFs for when you’re replying to messages or chats.

It reminds us of Apple's TouchBar, actually. Microsoft said it's considering allowing the ability to ink in this section. It's also working with app partners like Netflix and Spotify to optimise Windows 10 apps for this area.

What happened to Windows Lite?

There were rumours about a Windows Lite version of Windows 10. That's no more. It's officially become Windows 10X, according to ZDNet.

Does this replace Windows 10 in S Mode?

No. Microsoft is still offering Windows 10 in S Mode for consumers who want Chromebook-like devices that only run Windows Store apps.

Which devices run Windows 10X?

Windows 10X will only be available on new dual-screen devices, like the upcoming Surface Neo. Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, and HP all plan to have multi-display PCs available for the 2020 holiday season that will run on Windows 10X, too.

When will Windows 10X be available?

Presumably, Windows 10X will launch for consumers alongside the Microsoft Surface Neo and other dual-screen devices sometime in 2020. 

Writing by Maggie Tillman.