Let’s be clear on one thing before we dig into this story. I am an avid Windows user. I think it’s the better option out of the big three (the others being Mac OS and Linux). But the direction Microsoft is taking Windows 10X is definitely not were I would have taken it.
Windows 10X to stream 32bit x86 apps…
According to Windows Central, Microsoft has decided to drop x86 emulation on Windows 10X in favor of remotely streaming the 32bit x86 apps from their own cloud servers. Previously Microsoft had intended to use VAIL, a system that used virtualized containers to run x86 code on arm devices.
This seems to have been intended to allow 10X to run on low end arm devices and the containerized apps were creating too much of a performance hit for these low end platforms. This version of 10X is supposedly only intended for low end single screen laptops to compete with Chromebooks. The dual screen 10X devices will allegedly still support VAIL when they are released some time in 2022.
My thoughts on the change…
I am not, and never have been a fan of any version of windows that does not support normal x86 Windows apps. One of the biggest draws for Windows is the vast amount of programs that will run on it due to a well developed backwards compatibility.
Removing it takes away the bulk of the reason I would want to use windows at all.
I also think streaming apps is pointless. If a serious windows user needed an app to be portable that badly and couldn’t use a laptop, then they would just remote in to their desktop. The only time it makes sense use the cloud for computation is when that computation is way bigger than your desktop can handle. Running Photoshop or anything else low end via the cloud seems incredibly pointless.
Also, the price point they are aiming for, the low to mid end Chromebook, is full of perfectly good and usable x86 based laptops that have identical form factors. There is no need to make a separate OS that runs on ARM just to compete with Chromebooks, low end x86 laptops are already leagues better.