Microsoft begins to build a narrative for 'Windows Core OS' at Computex 2019

Windows 10X Shell
Windows 10X Shell (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has started talking about a new "modern OS" for new devices.
  • Seamless updates among other things have been confirmed.

A plethora of new Windows PCs have been announced at Computex this week, many featuring unique designs and dual-screen setups. We're in an era of change for Windows PCs, and that's a great thing. But it's not just the hardware that's changing, it's the software too. With Windows Core OS in the works, and coming soon, Microsoft has finally started building a narrative for this new OS, laying the foundations for what's to come.

In a post on the Windows Blog, Microsoft describes a new and modern OS designed to run on mobile device experiences like laptops, foldable tablets, dual-screen PCs, and more. While not mentioned by name, Microsoft is likely referring to Windows Lite, as that is the version of Windows Core OS that's being built for those device types. It's a new, modern, lightweight version of Windows designed with the web front and center.

This ecosystem requires an operating system that enables the foundational experiences customers expect from their devices, such as seamless updates, default security that protects users and the OS from malicious attacks, connectivity anywhere with 5G, LTE and Wi-Fi and performance that is consistent and reliable over time. Microsoft is investing to enable these modern OS experiences, and to deliver new experiences that take advantage of silicon advancements, powerful PCs, the cloud and power of AI.

In another blog post, Microsoft goes into even more detail about its modern OS, detailing several key areas it's focused on with building a modern OS:

  • Seamless updates.
  • Secure by default.
  • Always connected.
  • Sustained performance.
  • Cloud connected.
  • AI.
  • Multi-sense.
  • Form factor agilty.

Microsoft still isn't using the "Windows Core OS" name, referring to it only as "modern OS" for the time being, but the company has confirmed a few things we've been expecting to be part of Windows Core OS, including seamless updates, that should enable Windows Core OS devices to update in under a minute during a reboot. Microsoft also touts performance that doesn't degrade and form factor agility, likely referring to the new modern shell experiences that can adapt on the fly, and better security that protects users from attacks.

It's an exciting time for Windows devices, and this is just the start. Things are only going to get more interesting as we enter into 2020. Windows Core OS is the future of Windows, and is vital to the future of Windows devices. Our sources tell us we might start hearing about Windows Lite later this year, possibly in October if Microsoft is able to stick to its schedule. In the meantime, are you looking forward to Windows Core OS? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to Windows Core OS

The full extract referring to the modern OS is below:

These new modern PCs and innovative devices the ecosystem will continue to build and bring to market in the future require a modern operating system. An OS that provides a set of enablers that deliver the foundational experiences customers expect from their devices, and includes a set of delighters that deliver innovative human centric experiences. Enablers include seamless updates – with a modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions! A modern OS, is also secure by default, the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle. Always connected -with a modern OS Wifi, LTE 5G will just work – and users never have to worry about a deadspot. All of a users devices are aware and connected to each other. A modern OS provides sustained performance, from the moment a user picks up their device – everything is ready to go – without having to worry about the next time the PC needs to be charged. These enablers will satisfy customer's basic needs, but to truly differentiate we must also delight them. A modern OS does this by enabling cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users experiences on their devices.  These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done, and it enhances applications making them more intelligent. A modern OS is also multi-sense. People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – what ever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse. Finally, a modern OS provides the ultimate in form factor agility. A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliverThese enablers and delighters underpin our vision for a Modern OS, they will provide the foundational elements for an evolution of the PC ecosystem and enable partners to deliver the more human-centric experiences of tomorrow. Microsoft is investing to enable these modern OS experiences, and to deliver new ones that take advantage of silicon advancements, powerful PCs, the cloud and power of AI. Experiences like an Asian Inking platform, cognitive recognition services that help with photo tagging and new Your Phone capabilities that let users mirror their Android phone screen on their PC and use the PC mouse and keyboard to interact with phone apps and content using either Wi-Fi or LTE.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads