The late Windows 10X
Image: Microsoft

Windows 10X is dead before it even had a chance to live. On Tuesday, Microsoft formally and finally announced that it was pulling the plug on the would-be competitor to Chrome OS. Instead, some of the core technologies in 10X will pop up in other products.

SEE: How to run Windows or Mac apps from your Chromebook (TechRepublic)

“Following a year-long exploration and engaging in conversations with customers, we realized that the technology of Windows 10X could be useful in more ways and serve more customers than we originally imagined,” Microsoft said in its Tuesday blog post.

“Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company,” Microsoft added.

First announced in October 2019, Windows 10X has a tangled history. As initially envisioned, the product was created to run on dual-screen, foldable devices, such as Microsoft’s Surface Neo. Designed as a more modular operating system, the 10X platform was built on Windows Core OS, a stripped down version of the traditional Windows 10 OS.

But as delays set in, Microsoft switched gears on the purpose of Windows 10X. Instead, this variant of Windows 10 would land on single-screen PCs, including 2-in-1 and clamshell-style devices. Aimed at cloud-powered devices and targeting firstline workers and educational users, 10X came to be seen as Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS.

Continued delays and ongoing fuzziness over the raison d’etre of Windows 10X triggered rumors that Microsoft would kill off the product before it even debuted. And Tuesday’s blog post confirmed this.

Promising that some of the technology in 10X would live on in other products, Microsoft pointed to a few examples in play. The app container technology critical to Windows 10X is being added to such Windows 10 products as Defender Application Guard. An improved version of Voice Typing promises an easier way to dictate text. And a spruced-up touch keyboard will offer such options as key sizing, sounds, colors and animations.

Beyond those items, though, the future uses of 10X technology seem to be, shall we say, cloudy.

“Our teams continue to invest in areas where the 10X technology will help meet our customer needs as well as evaluate technology experiences both in software and hardware that will be useful to our customers in the future,” Microsoft added.

Oh, and one more thing. Microsoft nestled the news about Windows 10X toward the end of its blog post. The real purpose of the post was to announce the availability of the latest Windows 10 update, namely Windows 10 version 21H1.

Considered a minor but still significant update in the scheme of the usual biannual releases, version 21H1 fixes the usual number of bugs. But it also adds support for multiple Windows Hello cameras, includes better security and management tools, and removes the old legacy version of Microsoft Edge.

You can check your eligibility for Windows 10 version 21H1 the usual way. Go to Settings and select Update & Security. Check for updates at the Windows Update section. If nothing pops up, then your PC may not yet qualify or be ready for the update. Even if the update is available, you should wait at least a few days, if not longer, in case any problems arise that Microsoft needs to correct.