Microsoft would have planned big changes for Windows 10 in 2021. Several elements could arrive, such as the emulation of x86-64 applications on ARM computers, the arrival of Android applications or even improvements to Windows 10X.
Apple recently turned the IT world upside down with its Apple Silicon architecture. It is actually an ARM chip aimed at equipping the brand’s computers, with the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and MacBook Pro leading the way. Beyond the performance alone of this Apple M1 chip, what impresses the most is certainly the software consistency and the speed with which Apple has managed to convince developers to port their applications to this architecture. It is now up to Microsoft to respond with Windows 10.
Focus on Windows 10 ARM in 2021?
Windows PCs with an ARM architecture already exist, but it’s hard to say they can compete even with their macOS counterparts. Not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of the application suite.
In 2020, Microsoft reorganized itself, making Panos Panay the head of the Surface division, but also of the one dedicated to Windows 10. And this change should have consequences from 2021. According to information from Windows Central, Windows 10 should receive a major update in the second half of next year (after a mostly corrective update in the first half, laying the groundwork for the next), making some big changes.
First of all in terms of the interface, which is more modern, but also on even more important points. It is rumored that Microsoft could offer x86-64 application emulation on Windows 10 ARM, like what Apple offers with Rosetta 2. This would allow devices like the Surface Pro X to run the same software. than a PC with an Intel chip.
Finally, just like macOS, which now allows iOS applications to run, Microsoft would attempt to bring the Android application catalog to Windows 10. However, there is still a lot of work left, making the arrival of this function in 2021 uncertain.
Windows 10X to counter Chromebooks
Along with these changes to Windows 10, Windows 10X will also allow Microsoft to establish a second strategy. This lean version, designed for foldable display devices like the Surface Neo, is expected to arrive on entry-level and mid-range PCs as well.
The first Windows 10X PCs should be released by spring 2021 and would be designed to compete with Google and its Chromebooks. Although unable to launch traditional Win32 software, these computers could take advantage of Microsoft’s “Cloud PC”, which we have heard about for several months, without having confirmation of its existence for the moment.
Similar to the Shadow PC *, this system would make it possible to enjoy a remote Windows session on a complete and efficient machine. Enough to run all the necessary and imaginable software.
Either way, it looks like 2021 is a big turning point for Windows and Microsoft. At the same time, it will be necessary to hope to compete with Apple and its new M1 computers which are already very popular.
* Ulrich Rozier, founder of the Humanoid group, publisher of Frandroid, is a minority shareholder of Shadow.