My Thoughts: Dual-Screen Devices and Windows 10X

Sometimes I feel like the grandfather at the dinner table who detests anything modern. I grew up with a mouse/keyboard, and that’s the way I prefer things.

However, in the last couple of years, the distinction between a proper (desktop) computer and tablets is becoming muddier. For instance, Apple introduced the “touch bar” back in 2016 – a controversial touch-screen strip replacing the function row of keys on the MacBook Pro keyboards.

Oddly, if I had to choose the worst offender, it wouldn’t be Apple; it’d be Microsoft.

Apple distinctly has two different product lines and two different operating systems – macOS for desktop/laptop computers (Macs) and iOS for their mobile product. Last year, Apple introduced iPadOS, which is a branch of iOS dedicated strictly for the iPad.

In the Windows world, it was “one size fits all” with Windows 8. My high school used Windows 8 on desktop computers and it was extremely buggy. (It was so bad that I persuaded my family to switch to Macs at the time. You can get a little bit of a taste of my experience here.)

With Windows 10 (and the upcoming Windows 10X), I feel Microsoft is improving their approach to “mobilizing” Windows. However, demonstrations of an early Windows 10X (like the one below) opened my eyes to the possible future of computing – and I don’t like it.

A demo of Windows 10X from Windows Central

Windows 10X is designed for dual-screen devices, which resembles a Nintendo DS or the problematic Samsung Galaxy Fold. Unlike traditional laptops, such devices – like the Microsoft Surface Neo, which is expected to ship later this year – dual-screen devices have two screens: one in the usual spot, and another replacing the keyboard and trackpad.

I’m not sure how to feel about dual-screen devices. As I mentioned at the beginning, I grew up “old school” – I learned to type on an actual, physical keyboard, not a virtual software keyboard. I also learned to navigate using a mouse and not my finger. Even on my iPad I always have a Bluetooth keyboard connected for typing. I feel like throwing out the physical keyboard and going to the dual-screen layout is a bad idea.

I’m not a fan of the lack of a physical keyboard. (Photo: Tech Crunch)

Windows 10X is still in development, but I’m not a fan of it, either. It closely resembles a Linux distribution, or what you’d get if you morphed Windows and Android together. I’m not alone in my thoughts on 10X; majority of the comments on the demo video by Windows Central poked fun at Windows 10X. Since I don’t have any plans on purchasing a dual-screen device, this doesn’t really concern me. What I am worried about, however, is them possibly bringing the design over to the full, desktop Windows version.

However, the Surface Neo isn’t due out until later this year. They still have time to perfect it and Windows 10X. I’m curious to see what changes and how people will react to the final product.