Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface devices may not arrive this year due to COVID-19.
The company signaled the change in plans in a Monday blog post about how the pandemic is causing Microsoft to prioritize development for the existing Windows platform.
“As we continue to put customers’ needs at the forefront, we need to focus on meeting customers where they are now,” Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay wrote in the blog post. “Our customers are leveraging the power of the cloud more than ever, and we believe the time is right to lean into this acceleration in a different way.”
Panay then focused on Windows 10X, an operating system that’s slated to power a new generation of dual-screen hardware from Microsoft and other PC vendors. Specifically, Redmond plans on using the OS in the upcoming Surface Neo, which was originally slated for a holiday 2020 release.
However, in his blog post, Panay said the company is currently looking “for the right moment” to launch the dual-screen devices. In the meantime, Microsoft will deliver Windows 10X to single-screen devices first.
“These single-screen devices will be the first expression of Windows 10X that we deliver to our customers, and we will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market,” he added.
What Windows 10X will offer over the standard Windows 10 OS wasn’t entirely made clear in the blog post. But the 10X version does feature a new layout, which includes a redesigned taskbar and overhauled Start Menu experience. There’s also a special “Compose mode,” which can transform the UI into a more productivity-friendly interface.
“With Windows 10X, we designed for flexibility, and that flexibility has enabled us to pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways,” Panay added.
We expect the company to reveal more at Microsoft Build, a developer-focused event that’ll be held online on May 19-20. In the meantime, the company is bringing some new enhancements to Windows 10 in the May 2020 update. Changes include a faster way to pair Bluetooth headphones to your devices, and an improved tablet experience for when you detach a keyboard from the hardware.