Microsoft typically launches two major upgrades to Windows 10 – packed with new features and design refreshes – each year. It also rolls-out smaller updates with new patches and security fixes each month to keep things ticking over.
And the next blockbuster overhaul of the immensely-popular operating system is due in the first half of next year. If the Redmond-based company sticks with its habitual release schedule, we’d expect to see that land in the summer.
However, that’s not what Microsoft has planned.
According to a new report from Microsoft-obsessed blog WindowsCentral, the technology company has now switched the Windows 10 development cycle to match that of its popular Azure cloud service, which targets major launches in June and December each year.
If that’s accurate, you can expect to see the next version of Windows 10 brimming with new capabilities and visuals to land in June 2020 – a few months earlier than expected. So, what does this have to do with the dual-screen Surface Neo?
Well, Microsoft is developing a new iteration of Windows 10 – known as Windows 10X – to support the dual-screen gadgets, so that users can snap applications to one side of the device, or stretch the windows across both touchscreens.
Additionally, the operating system will remember the position of these applications as you close and open-up the Surface Neo (or any other dual-screen Windows 10 devices that runs the software) so that you can resume work without faffing about.
With the Surface Neo penciled-in for launch in late 2020, we can expect the new hardware to align with the December upgrade to Windows 10, provided that WindowsCentral, which has a pretty stellar track record with previous reports about future software updates, is correct about the schedule change.
That gives Microsoft time to focus on desktop, tablet and existing two-in-one users in the first major update of the year, with the second focused on its first foray into a new form-factor since the release of the original Microsoft Surface back in October 26, 2012.
Since Microsoft will need to install an early version of the software onto its device in the factory, the December release date to consumers – with an early version heading out to the factory roughly four to six weeks before seems about right.
If Microsoft stuck with its usual release date of October, there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much time to develop and test the operating system.
That’s a problem when you’re building an entirely-new version of Windows 10 for a new category of devices.
The tight turnaround afforded by the current schedule has caused a number of problems for Microsoft in the past. The blockbuster update released earlier this year and its subsequent updates have been plagued by a variety of bugs and glitches, which have stopped users from accessing the all-important Start Menu, caused Wi-Fi issues, and more.
With any luck, the new schedule should provide enough breathing room to iron-out these issues, something that will be especially important if the Surface Neo is to succeed.