Windows 10X could be ready by December, but without an important feature

Windows 10X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

New rumors suggest that Windows 10X, a modular and lightweight version of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen and foldable devices, could arrive as early as December – but without support for Win32 apps.

According to Windows Latest, Windows 10X will hit RTM (release to manufacturer) by the end of 2020, which means the operating system should be complete enough for device makers to being shipping it with their products.

That potential Windows 10X RTM date of December is interesting, as Microsoft’s Surface Neo, a dual-screen device that was supposed to showcase Windows 10X, has been delayed until 2022.

This means we’ll likely see devices from other manufacturers running Windows 10X before Microsoft releases its own hardware. And, while Windows 10X was designed for dual screen devices originally, it seems we’ll also see it on single screen devices as well – likely low-powered laptops to rival Chromebooks.

We should start seeing these new Windows 10X devices by spring 2021, but before you get too excited, Windows Latest reports the operating system could be missing a key feature: support for Win32 apps.

App hazard

When Windows 10X was first announced, many people were concerned that this would be yet another limited version of Windows that was unable to run standard Windows (Win32) applications, like the much-maligned Windows RT and Windows 10S.

Being unable to run your favorite programs, or any application you require for work, severely limits the appeal and usability of the operating system, and Microsoft promised Windows 10X would be able to run Win32 applications using virtualisation.

However, it’s being reported that Windows 10X will not launch with the technology, known as ‘VAIL’, that would enable the OS to run Win32 apps. Instead, it looks like users will be stuck using UWP and PWA apps. 

These apps often lack features that the Win32 versions have, and there are still a number of applications that don’t have UWP or PWA versions. This means that once again, Windows 10X could be an operating system that lacks important applications for many people.

Hopefully, Microsoft will add VAIL and Win32 app support to Windows 10X soon.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.