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By Abhay V
Microsoft releases download links for Edge Insider builds for Windows 10X
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft announced Windows 10X back in October 2019, a brand new OS aimed at dual-screened devices, which debuted alongside the work-in-progress Surface Neo running on the new OS. However, over time, plans changed for Windows 10X as it was repurposed for single-screened devices, with the Surface Neo delayed indefinitely. Now, the new OS is reportedly targeted at low-end devices and is expected to make it to devices as early as spring 2021, with it said to reach RTM status this December.
Now, the Edge Insider downloads page lists Windows 10X under ‘other platforms’ (spotted by Windows Latest) from where users can download MSIX packages of the Insider versions of the Edge browser. These builds can be installed on the Windows 10X emulator. However, the installer fails to install the browser when trying to initiate the install on Windows 10.
Windows 10X is expected to ship without support for Win32 apps since the Redmond firm reportedly decided to strip the virtualization technology – termed VAIL – from the OS for release next year. This means that the firm will need to compile the Chromium-based Edge browser to be delivered as an MSIX package since the OS will only support UWP apps and web apps, and not traditional desktop apps. It looks like that effort is now underway, with links for not just Windows 10X, but also the HoloLens 2 – which runs a variant of Windows 10 based on the modular Core OS – now active on the downloads page.
With rumors pointing towards a December timeframe for RTM, it will be interesting to see if the company provides more information on the upcoming OS and begins testing the offering in some form with Windows Insiders. There have also been no updates on the Windows 10X emulator, which was spotted sporting for single-screened devices.
By Abhay V
A brand new OOBE interface spotted in the latest Windows 10 Insider builds
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft released Windows 10 build 20231 to the Dev channel yesterday, bringing a couple of new features including a new screen for the out-of-box experience (OOBE) – the first-time setup process for new devices or when users clean install the OS. This new screen provides users the option to choose what they intend to use their computers for, in turn customizing the setup and system settings accordingly. The feature is still in development and hence, customization is currently only limited to the OOBE in the Insider builds.
However, Twitter user Albacore has shared a video of a revamped OOBE UI itself, which has been enabled on build 20231. The new UI and overall experience bring a refresh to the now-aging setup process, which has had mixed feedback thanks to Cortana’s prominent presence, which had to be scaled back for enterprise users. The updated setup screens seem to use a white background and colorful visuals, ditching the blue background currently present.
The setup experience is reportedly being brought over from Windows 10X. With Microsoft's latest, lightweight OS offering being repurposed for single-screen PCs, it will not be surprising to see more design elements brought to Windows 10. Some of the recent changes include the new theme-aware Start Menu and the updated iconography.
Build 20231 is part of the vNext branch, meaning that the features debuted in the Dev channel are not tied to any specific release of the OS. It will be interesting to see what other changes are made to the OOBE in future builds and when these updates will be released to the general public.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft removes the Surface Neo from its website
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft had its annual fall hardware launch, where it showed off a new configuration of the Surface Pro X, and the all-new Surface Laptop Go. It's been a year now since the last event, where the firm announced its bold plan to go all-in on dual-screen devices, promising a brand-new version of Windows called Windows 10X that's built from the ground up for this new category.
The Surface Duo, which runs Android, started shipping in August. The Surface Neo, which is larger and based on Windows 10X, is still missing in action. It's no surprise, since Microsoft was clear that it's been delayed. In fact, Windows 10X is now officially coming to single-screen PCs first, with dual-screen support coming when Microsoft decides the time is right.
Since last year's event, there's been a Surface Neo product listing on the Microsoft website. For a while, it said it was coming in holiday season 2020, and then a few months after it was officially delayed, that message was removed. Now, the listing has been removed completely.
In fact, you'll still see it in search previews (at the time of this writing), but when you click learn more, it just takes you to a generic Surface page with all of the current products.
It's unclear if this means that the product has been canceled or if it's just being removed because it's been delayed indefinitely. Frankly, this might be one of those things that Microsoft announces and it eventually quietly disappears. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. The company still hasn't publicly said Sets (a feature announced for Windows in 2017 that would allow for tabbed apps) is dead.
The Redmond firm might also be using the Surface Duo as a test case for how much of a customer base there might be for dual-screen devices. And with the rest of the industry trending toward devices with foldable screens, it's possible that that might be where the base is.
Obviously, we've reached out to Microsoft for a statement on why the product listing was removed. We'll update this article when we hear back.
Update: Microsoft has issued a statement to Neowin to say, "Earlier this year, we announced that we’re pausing development for Surface Neo. We do not have any updates to share at this time."
By Rich Woods
Lenovo details the ThinkPad X1 Fold and opens up pre-orders
by Rich Woods
Back in May 2019, Lenovo first introduced its plan to make a ThinkPad X1 PC with a foldable display, and it unveiled the device in all its glory at CES. It comes with a 13.3-inch 4:3 2048x1536 OLED display, giving you two 9.6-inch 3:2 displays when it's folded.
There were still a couple of details left out at CES though, mainly because the Intel processors to be used weren't actually announced yet. It's confirmed now that it will use Intel's Lakefield chips, which use the firm's Hybrid technology. That means that it has a big core and four small cores, adopting an architecture that's similar to big.LITTLE on ARM.
The X1 Fold is something that you're really going to want for the foldable screen, because the rest of the specs don't match the price. It comes with 8GB LPDDR4X 4267MHz memory, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, and it weighs in at 999g. It also comes with optional 5G.
But the big news is that while Lenovo still hasn't offered a concrete date of when you'll receive one, you can pre-order starting today. It starts at $2,499, and if you want to check it out, you can find it on Lenovo.com here.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft's Surface Neo page no longer says it's coming this holiday season
by Rich Woods
Last October, Microsoft's Panos Panay did something that he's never done before. He showed off two products a full year before they were to be released. That included a dual-screen PC called the Surface Neo and a dual-screen phone called the Surface Duo. It didn't work out.
Microsoft announced back in May that Windows 10X was being repurposed for single-screen devices, and dual-screen support was being pushed back indefinitely. Strangely though, the company didn't update its product listing for the Surface Neo for months, leaving it as saying that it's shipping this holiday season.
That's changing today. Everything is exactly the same, where it says, "A groundbreaking new dual-screen device that redefines how you get things done. With two 9” screens, a revolutionary 360° hinge, touch, pen, keyboard, and incredible new Windows experiences, Surface Neo enables you to do more, anywhere." That sentence used to be followed by, "Coming Holiday 2020."
Some may have speculated that this PC will actually ship with regular Windows 10, and then have a Windows 10X variant when it's available. After all, that's what Lenovo is doing with its ThinkPad X1 Fold. It's clearly not the case for the Surface Neo though, which was meant to be the hero device for Windows 10X.
The latest rumors are that dual-screen support for Windows 10X now isn't coming until 2022. Between now and then, it's not only being targeted at single-screen PCs, but more specifically, it's being targeted at low-end single-screen PCs.