Last week, unnamed sources said that Microsoft is currently working on an “adaptive shell” for Windows 10 so that the platform can properly scale out across PC, mobile, console, HoloLens, and embedded devices. As it stands now, all Windows 10 devices share the same Windows 10 core component, but the surrounding operating system “shell” is somewhat different on each class of device. An “adaptive” shell would mean a more complete Windows 10 package that could adjust according to screen size, form factor, and target computing environment.
Having an adaptive shell would seemingly be the final piece in Microsoft’s one-OS-to-rule-them-all puzzle. The company began this journey with its Windows 10 OneCore subsystem, laying the foundation for Microsoft and Windows 10 developers to address multiple device classes and applications. Microsoft then developed its Universal Windows Platform so that one
On a more technical level, this “Composable Shell” (or CSHELL) is reportedly comprised of sub-components, allowing Windows 10 to quickly adapt to a specific screen size or device class, similar to how Windows Continuum can move between smartphone mode and desktop mode. This would eliminate the need to create and maintain separate versions of
The Composable Shell rumor is seemingly the foundation of an additional rumor that appeared this week claiming Microsoft is working on a “Cloud Shell” for Windows 10 as well. The news arrives by way of a document that describes Cloud Shell as a new “lightweight iteration of Windows designed for the modern computing world.” It’s slated to arrive in
The Cloud Shell suggests that Microsoft could be working on a cloud-based version of Windows 10 that can run on x86-based devices (Intel, AMD) and ARM-based devices (Snapdragon, Tegra, Exynos). Combine this with the Composable Shell, and one
One thing to keep in mind is that customers likely don’t want to stream Windows 10 to a device. Instead, this solution works extremely well in a corporate environment where the data center creates individual virtual machines in the local cloud that are streamed to “thin client” devices that have nothing locally installed.
Of course, having Windows 10 running in the cloud points to the possibility of a subscription-based service for the mainstream market. Perhaps Microsoft is looking into a way for Android, Linux, MacOS, and other platforms to run
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