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Microsoft's move to improve touch in Windows desktop mode is the right approach

The new (new) Microsoft is increasingly more pragmatic and takes fewer risks when it comes to user experience. It's the opposite of Windows 8, which while an exciting offshoot of Windows 7, not only wholly bombed but likely set Microsoft back years. While Windows 8 had earnest intentions, it was very likely too radical – and ahead of its time – to work in 2012.

Windows 10 build 18970 began rolling out to Windows Insiders recently, with a significant but nuanced change. Microsoft is now improving the overall touch experience for the Windows 10 desktop experience. Oddly, the actual Tablet Mode function in Windows 10, though, remains unchanged.

No more dedicated Tablet Mode?

If I had to guess (and this is an informed guess), Microsoft is planning to shelve Tablet Mode in Windows 10. In its place, the company will rely on what we see in Windows 10 build 18970, assuming A/B testing goes well.

The move makes sense. In 2019 the tablet market is on decline for Windows and Android. Only Apple remains with the iPad, and even there, the company is quickly positioning iPad Pro as a Surface Pro-like experience, getting away from a "pure" tablet experience. With giant phones like the Note 10, iPhone XS Max, and Mate 20 X, the need for tablets is dropping like a rock. I can't even name any pure Windows 10 tablets that have come out in the last three years.

In place of tablets, Windows 10 has 2-in-1s and convertibles, but even there the usage of these devices as pure tablets is likely low. Microsoft has the telemetry on usage for Tablet Mode and – like Start Menu – I'm confident in saying very few people take advantage of it, which does not warrant its continued development.

The improved touch-friendly desktop experience coming to Windows 10.

The improved touch-friendly desktop experience coming to Windows 10.

None of that is to say touch is dead. I use many 2-in-1 Windows 10 PCs (the Yoga C930, EliteBook 1040, Surface Pro, and MateBook E, to name a few) and I very often to put them into a converted configuration aka media-mode where the keyboard is flipped back. I never use Tablet Mode anymore as I find touch in desktop good enough. That said, I'll never turn down even more optimizations around touch in desktop mode and these changes, which you can see in our hands-on video above, look great.

The future is Lite

But what if Microsoft wants a real touch experience, or if a new tablet form factor returns? I think "Windows Lite" will be the answer there. That OS and its UI are built from the ground-up for light computing, convertibles, foldables, and dual-screen devices. Surely touch (and inking) input are top priorities for such an OS.

The problem with Windows 8 and Windows 10? They are massive – and at the core – old OSes that are often trying to be something they're not. Making desktop more touch-optimized is the way to go for current hardware. Let Windows Lite take the mantle of authentic touch and tablet-like devices.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

73 Comments
  • The reason I don't use tablet mode on my surface is because the OS doesn't really work without a mouse... Windows 8.1 had a great touch experience and I wonder why Microsoft really haven't done anything with the touch experience since the launch or windows 10
  • Same,
    Win 8/8.1 ran circles around W10's Tablet mode. Which honestly seems like it was never finished.
  • It works fine without a mouse. I don't have a mouse and do everything I want including using pro music composition and scoring apps.
  • I agree. It, the OS, works fine without a mouse. There are a lot of applications that have not given much consideration to use without a mouse and keyboard. That's a developer issue. It is also the case that some apps don't really lend themselves to being used on a tablet, as a tablet. Things like word processors and spreadsheets are so data entry heavy, using them with just fingers, is just cumbersome.
  • 8.1 touch UI was awesome. Pity we couldn't have that back
  • Personally I think nowadays it works fine with touch, the keyboard seems to be a bit more consistent too with opening. The start menu, settings menu, taskbar, action center, timeline etc and some apps (mostly microsoft and uwp) work well. That being said, the animations and gestures could use some work. And a modern file explorer of course.
  • This saddens me. Tablet is my default mode. So they're taking away my live tiles and my tablet mode. This sucks. Windows will be just another boring desktop again, I guess.
  • I'm with you. I need full Windows, not Windows Lite, in Tablet mode.
  • Yep. I use it too on some of my tablet PCs. I was hoping they would eventually bring tablet mode back into focus. Oh well...
  • Fantastic idea. Apps are so overrated. Missing features and glitch all the time. Even on my Huawei P20 Pro I moved over to using what I need in the browser. Because even official apps are terrible. Much prefer using my Surface Pro with touch in desktop mode with actual software and Edge.
  • I am pretty much the same. I used to keep tons of apps on my phone then I just started saving the web address in my browser to my startup screen (I prefer Samsung Internet beta) and use those instead. They provide roughly the same performance plus I get to take advantage of the browsers built-in dark mode and ad blocker. It's a win-win really.
  • By "Edge", you mean Chrome with a Microsoft skin?
  • I haven't used Chrome in about 5 years.
  • You aren't using Microsoft's new Chrome based browser?
  • That is Chromium not Chrome ;) . Chrome is a memory hoarder and spyware browser.
  • Chromium, not Chrome. Big difference. No Google services integrated into Edge. Also, Microsoft has made Chromium better with smooth scrolling, privacy additions, native dark mode, reading view, ARM support, Collections, and syncing with Microsoft Accounts. If you think that's a "skin" you're very naive about how themes work in a browser and probably shouldn't be making comments.
  • I am being a bit facetious, but it is just Chrome with a skin at the end of the day. I am sure Richard will refuse to use it for that reason.
  • I have android phone. And a PS4. I'm quite happy purchasing anything that has value.
  • Then I am mistaken. Sorry.
  • Except it is not. It is there own compiled version of Chromium, which is not Chrome.
  • Like usual you're wrong. He's right. It is a reskinned Chromium if anything.
  • It is not Chrome with a skin. If you really want to use the word skin, that name it Chromium with a skin (even than technically MS added functionality features besides the ui/theme and probably more behind the hood).
  • I actually use Tablet mode on my Alienware Alpha in the living room. Works pretty great with the Xbox controller.
  • If only they improved touch in tablet mode. Using my Surface without a keyboard is not a great experience and this change certainly doesn't address the problems.
  • Hold on, why couldn't they just use the interface from 8.0/8.1 when switching to tablet mode? People want the aethestics and tablet oriented interface that those provided. Canceling tablet mode is the wrong approach and what they doing now isn't going to work either. I do agree doing "something" is good, but doing "anything" is worse!
  • It's not like they can just copy and paste the old interface. Not saying you can't import touch centric features over, but that still takes time and effort
  • Yeah, I really do not thing Tablet Mode is the right approach. Improving touch for Desktop Mode is good especially for the likes with All-in-One PCs which you do not need the tablet mode but they are touch screen computers. For tablet and even for convertibles, Tablet Mode is the right UX for those devices. Yes give a choice for those who want that desktop experience while using a tablet, but not everybody does and desktop UX is still clumsy to use on a tablet use case. Not sure really if people DO REALLY prefer Desktop Mode on a tablet when Windows 10 default behaviour is not to even automatically switch to Tablet Mode when you switch your device to tablet mode. It ask if you want to switch, yes but most people tend to ignore dialogue boxes or simply dismiss them without really knowing what it is, so they assume Desktop Mode is the tablet experience for Windows. It should have been an opt-out and not opt-in. This I think why Microsoft did not have enough data for tablet mode usage because default behaviour is not to go Tablet Mode. This also the reason why many think Windows is not good for tablet mode, not because they think it simply not as good as let's say iOS/iPadOS but because they think it doesn't have one. even though it exist. I've noticed this on one of my colleague who got an HP x360 and still run on a Desktop Mode, and surprise it has a Tablet Mode which then he prefers because "it's like an iPad". People not using Tablet Mode much isn't because they hate that mode, it wasn't just a default behaviour when you switch to a tablet state, plain and simple. Most do not fiddle around with settings and generally dismiss notifications or messages they do not recognize. This applies even to other OS too.
  • What works on a 15" screen does not work on a 10" or 12" screen. In desktop mode on a small screen, fonts and icons become too small. Tablet mode has a purpose. Sometimes DRub sees things only through his own eyes. There are other worlds and other ways of using computers than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.
  • I use my 10.3 inch surface Pro in touch mode on desktop literally all the time. I have to say it's a far more pleasing experience than my android phone and it's apps. I do often use my Surface pen though. But it's faster, more feature rich than any app on my android phone. I have to say, after all the fuss over Andorid/IPhone apps. When I moved to Android from Windows Phone 18 months ago. I was shocked at the absolute state of apps on their. Especially the official apps for big known companies. They are missing features from their browser counterparts or glitch and freeze way to often. If people like using that. That's entirely their option. But it was like stepping back to 1991 software.
  • Indeed, plus browser counterparts have the added benefit of extra privacy & security cause you can use a extension like Disconnect or Ublock orgin or such to block advertisements infected with malware and block trackers etc. I feel like if only MS added an option in Edge to easily hide interface bars than combined with pin to start/taskbar there is no real reason to use most/simple apps anymore.
  • Yeah, when you start going smaller than 12 inches, Tablet Mode makes more sense, even for 10 inches like Surface Go. Because you got smaller real estate for windowed apps, mostly people tend to have all running apps to run maximized except for some apps like Calculator which do not make sense as a maximized state or Sticky Note (which the new version is now not optimized for Tablet Mode, WTF!?). iPadOS with its recent updates actually have probably the best UX for tablet especially for 12 inch screen tablet. It does lack a proper Desktop Mode which is needed when you use the keyboard and use it as a laptop. But for tablet state, its current UX is great. It does not have a true free-floating window but the side windows just have a right restraint not to be clunky. If there is something I simply I will miss with iPadOS are the Live Tiles, more advance File Manager (its Files app is okay and works perfectly with touch but lacking some more features), better Pen-centric UX like on Windows Ink and Galaxy Note (but its pen hardware and for drawing is top notch) and Timeline.
  • The problem I had with tablet mode (especially for productivity) is that it does not smooth transition between fullscreen apps. Like you open something than close it and you see a clunky transition to the start menu. Switching between apps should also be more smooth. ipadOS seems pretty good idd. I do not like the iOS start menu and tendency to hide/obsecure relevant icons/features but smooth anims/transitions etc work really well and ipadOS seems to have the potential to improve a lot on the iOS because of the extra screen estate. Atm I do personally prefer Window's openness even for tablets.
  • "While Windows 8 had earnest intentions, it was very likely too radical – and ahead of its time – to work in 2012." Windows 8's problem wasn't that it was ahead of its time, its problem was it sucked for PC's. Windows 8 had a UI that was optimized / focused on touch and small screens (phones and tablets). Microsoft arrogantly assumed it could force this crappy UI (Metro) on PC users, then once they got used to it, they would all love it an go out and buy Windows Phones and tablets (Surface RT, etc). The plan backfired spectacularly - Windows Phones are completely dead and Windows tablets never went anywhere. All we were left with is a crappy phone UI to use on PC's. Microsoft backtracked a little with Windows 10 to make it not as horrible on PCs as Windows 8, but most of their UWP apps look / work like crap on PCs and still feel like phone apps crammed onto a PC Desktop interface. If the Windows 8 interface was just ahead of its time, why not reintroduce it as the primary interface on Windows 10 today - its been 7 years, surely it would be a success today - whats that? No it would still suck. OK, how about we reintroduce it in 2025 or 2030? No it would still suck. The iPhone was ahead of its time and truly groundbreaking with a UI that was completely optimized for the form factor and available input methods. Other companies (Google, Microsoft) tried to copy most aspects as fast as they could - Google has been pretty successful, Microsoft has been a dumpster fire.
  • Google has been more than pretty successful. They have basically destroyed Apple. IPhone had at the beginning as much as 90% marketshare. In 2018 IPhone had a 18% marketshare worldwide. Google has a 80% marketshare in phones in 2018. So I would saylikebthey did in the 90s with the PC market. Apple have well and truly lost the phone war.
  • Apple doesn't care about market share. They just want to sell large numbers of very expensive phones. They do great. Microsoft was the one destroyed by both Apple and Google. Now your primary or "PC" is the small screen you carry around with you everywhere. Desktops and laptops have become your "SC" or secondary computing device. Only leveraged for heavier tasks that do not lend themselves to small touchscreens.
  • "IPhone had at the beginning as much as 90% marketshare" Yes, but of a MUCH smaller market. They are selling WAY more phones today at 22% world wide share than they were 10 years ago with 90% share. BTW, Apple is over 50% in the U.S. and nearly 70% in Japan. Apple is far from being "destroyed". MS (and all the WP fans here) would have killed for such "destroyed" phone market share. "Apple have well and truly lost the phone war" LOL, good one. Do you write your own material or do you hire comedy writers?
  • You miss the point. The original post I was replying to said Google have done OK in the phone market. Leading by 60% marketshare isn't alright. It's killing the competition. Apple will never lead in anything. Because they have a completely closed system. That's why they are irrelevant in PCs today. And why they drop marketshare in phones now every year for 5 years running.
  • They are irrelevant not because of their closed ecosystem but because for more than a decade they had failures after failures of. Macintosh computers. Heck, they had to rebrand it to Macbook in order to sell their products. If that didn't happen the Mac marketshare would be closer than it is now.
  • Google still earns more money from Apple devices than from Android devices. For the revenues 100 phones sold in India can't cover 1 phone sold in the US, and even every phone sold in the US isn't the same. Apple covers what is important pretty well. It kills the competition if you really insist on that word. It seems that you are not aware that companies work for dollars and not for people's smiles.
  • Hmmm, I am not an Apple fan but I think Apple is the only company making real money in the smartphone market (latest number I have seen is they account for +/-90% of all the profits in the smartphone market).
  • as one of those who have been staying in desktop mode while using touch, i have advocated for an improved touch experience on the desktop side for years. but even more important would be a robust set of gestures! better yet, implement a customizable gesture engine along the lines of "gesture sign". hell, microsoft just needs to hire the guy behind gesture sign, because that guy singlehandedly managed to build something powerful, useful and reliable in his spare time, something i don't think microsoft could manage with a billion dollars and an army of developers.
  • Anything that sells as a slab of glass without a keyboard is a tablet. So that would include the Surface Go and Surface Pro. The Type Cover is optional on these devices and is sold separately. By many metrics, the Surface devices are getting counted as laptops, and so it is hard to get a complete picture of Windows tablet sales as they compare to iPad and Android. I saw a Consumer Reports review on tablets, and they didn't even list Surface as a rated devices. Windows 10 is really innovative with the 2-in-1 configuration, but it frustrates me that Microsoft gets very little credit for having touch only devices. I have a Surface Go which I love. The Surface Go has opened up touch/tablet form factor uses cases that are killer. I use the Surface Go as an eReader for technical books, to watch movies, to reference recipes while cooking, and to read sheet music (via MobileSheets app). My HP Spectre, though is also a 2-in-1, is still too clunky to do these things well. So touch only modes is very important for devices under 12 or so inches. I do think that making desktop touch work better is the right move. It seems most of the tablet mode gestures (like swiping from left to activate Task View, swiping from right to activate Notification and Action Center) also work in desktop mode. One thing that tablet mode does do for you is open maximized and without window frames. That has a use for small screen devices and you are only using touch. I might play around with my Surface Go to force in desktop mode all the time. One thing that I think will be a problem is the auto-hide of the Task Bar. In desktop mode I let it auto-hide. In tablet mode, it stays exposed along with the start tiles. Having to flick from the left to get the Task Bar, and then touch the Start, and then get to a tile would be awkward.
  • The only reason Surface doesn't come with the keyboard is to make it easier for you to choose the keyboard color and it allows them to artificially decrease the starting price. You don't buy a Surface without the keyboard. You lose all reason to use Windows without the keyboard and mouse. Without a keyboard you are stuck with an expensive iPad with no touch apps and a terrible touch UI.
  • This is amongst the daftest things this company has done. Windows 8.1 tablet mode was really good. Bring it back to W10. Besides the whole point of having a Windows machine was that it could do literally anything. At this point a bigger more powerful Samsung tablet a la S6 with next gen Dex is now a very viable option for my next tablet... fast giving up on this company.
  • Why have tablet mode when there are no tablets?
  • What about the Surface Pro and Surface Go? They are tablets.
  • Surface Pro and Surface Go are tablets. So does the HP Envy x2. There might be some less known brand chinese tablets out there, especially UMPCs like the OneMix 3. They are indeed being class as laptops, but the form factors are still pretty much a tablet. Convertibales with flip screen or the likes of Surface Book are laptops that can have tablet as a secondary mode.
  • Hi Daniel, this article ran on windows central 3 weeks ago: https://www.windowscentral.com/best-cheap-windows-10-tablets written by Richard Devine. The headline was "These are the best Windows 10 tablets money can buy" I would agree that there aren't dozens of Windows 10 tablets to choose from and OEM's haven't embraced the form factor in the way that Microsoft would probably have hoped, but that's really down to poor leadership, misjudgement, awful marketing and a sheer lack of direction on Microsoft's part. Windows 8.1 was a very user-friendly tablet form factor, and they all but abandoned the best parts of it when creating Windows 10. They left us with a very sub-par tablet UI in W10, and have done very, very little to fix it. Windows Phone 8.1 was a great mobile OS, and they all but abandoned the best parts of it when creating Windows 10 Mobile. They left us with a very sub-par phone UI in WP10. There's a pattern here that's hard to ignore. With both Windows 10 Tablet Mode and Windows 10 Mobile, I suspect Microsoft are, or have, abandoned these UI's and Operating Systems for "something better" which we believe to be Windows Lite. But that doesn't help the end-user in the slightest. All we see is a company that acts like a self-centred, crazy toddler, bashing around the playroom, picking up one toy, focussing on it for a bit, then getting bored and tossing it in the corner while screeching arund the room looking for the next thing to focus on for a few seconds. All the while, we're running behind the toddler, trying to keep up. When MS abandons an OS or a UI, it costs the end-user money. It's really expensive to run after the Microsoft toddler.
  • Thanks for the hilarious metaphor (e.g. self-centered, crazy toddler). There is some truth to it when they make decision blindly by telemetry and market data, instead of gifted internal vision.
  • If they do such a dumb move, they better set up a program of refunds. Because I bought the Surface Go to only use with touch. And this solution doesn't solve the touch problem of Windows 10, it just makes it even worse.
  • You bought a Surface without a keyboard? You must be a *********.
  • The chances they get rid of Tablet Mode on legacy Windows 10 is probably small. They'll likely just de-emphasize it and de-prioritize it as an option.
    "they better set up a program of refunds."
    Sure. Or, you know, do the class-action lawsuit thing that people in comments like to go on about.
  • Actually they already do almost after a the Anniversary Update. Pretty much none have been any notable improvements on Tablet Mode. People bar were not working well on Tablet Mode and even the latest Sticky Notes do not work well with Tablet Mode, and using it results having full screen sticky notes instead of free-floating sticky notes as they should be.
  • Do you really need the Win 10 start screen there all the time? If anything I'll be happy with a search bar in the top of the screen so I could just find the apps or documents I want to use. I don't even keep apps in my phone screen anymore. If I need something that I don't know the name of I just go down the app menu until I find it. Just get a nice wallpaper or better a changing wallpaper after a set times.
  • Not sure about that, tablet mode does also have some disadvantages for even tablets, like it shows clunky anim transitions that desktop mode does not show. You can still have a fullscreen start menu and auto-hide taskbar in desktop mode iirc. In that sense the differences between desktop- and tablet mode are minimal.
  • Sometimes it feels like Microsoft can't stay on course. It's like they do something for a while, get fed up with it and go off on a different tangent, leaving users who have adopted their systems feeling abandoned. Why not improve the desktop touch experience AND tablet mode at the same time? Do they really have to abandon tablet mode? Why not invest in making windows 10 tablet and desktop a tightly woven, integrated experience that switches seamlessly when you need one or the other? Microsoft takes a really frustrating "throw the baby out with the bathwater" approach to their operating systems, and it's often at the cost of developers and users. If Apple had dumped iOS and completely refreshed every 3-4 years, the iPhone would not have had the success it's enjoyed. Same with Android. You can't let developers and users invest in a platform for a few years, then throw it in the bin and expect us to be OK with it. Not time and time and time again. If tablet mode goes away in favour of an enhanced desktop touch experience, what about those people who bought windows tablets without keyboards? I bought both my kids surface go's without keyboards, and they use them only in tablet mode. I bought them specifically to be used as consumption tablets, not as laptops. If microsoft decide to ditch tablet mode, I'd have to buy the keyboards to keep the devices useful. That's unfair.
  • Do consider that as Desktop Mode's touch experience is slowly improved, Desktop Mode would not be difficult to utilize without a keyboard. Anyway, considering that the increased spacing between buttons in file explorer is enabled when the keyboard is disabled/detached, some of these changes are likely to affect and improve the Tablet Mode experience.
  • They didn't just dump tablet mode after a few years. Almost nobody used it since 2015
  • I don't think it's the right approach. I can understand the pragmatic framing argument of the OS for the average user, but in terms of a tablet friendly UI I don't consider these minor changes on the desktop as relevant enough to warrant "a tablet friendly" UI. At the end of the day the experience is mainly a desktop and mouse and keyboard input oriented design. In the 10 years I've used windows on a windows tablet and 2 in 1 device with touch and pen support, the basic desktop invites me to use it more with a mouse, keyboard or trackpad but doesn't invite or motivate me to use the pen or touch. If microsoft is serious about supporting touch and pen input on windows devices they have to think more holisticly and less practical.
    I think the changes are relevant arguments that need changing, but it's a fragmentary change of an other basic desktop, mouse and keyboard design.
    For me such an implementation with the assumption that tablet mode is going to be deprecated within the next 3 years is telling me microsoft is not serious about touch and pen input as a relevant input mehtod for their windows touch and pen supported devices. At one point 60% of users of windows touch and pen devices (I can't remember the exact fact phrasing) were actually using the pen (...and touch).
    For me table mode and full screen start screen makes sense in my personal and business use. It's a nice dashboard with customizable live tiles, that offers more than the desktop and icons. I could see Microsoft making it more efficient for all input methods to redesign the desktop as the new full screen start menu, replace the desktop with a new dashboard where live tiles replace the icons (as live tiles offer more). That for me would somehow justify the future of windows, without alienating too many users as the major change would only be icons replaced by more customizable live tiles that offers you more information at a glance and would be not far off from the current homescreens of tablets and smartphones of today that most people are accustomed too today, and not sacrificing the windows core that we all know and love.
    But if this is it with these desktop changes I see little value in buying a windows touchscreen device with pen support in the future. Might as well pick up my 10 year old desktop from the attic slap on windows 10 (lite?) and call it a day. Granted it is more basic, foolproof and practical, but little forward thinking in microsoft's current future outlook mantra.
  • Using only touch as I write on my Surface Go, it's working just fine. Been using it exclusively on my work Toughbook for months now since my track pad went out and I have too much to get done to send it in just yet for a fix. Windows touch is extremely usable and now that I've gotten used to it, its rather good. Is it flawless? Absolutely not, not even close but in my opinion its not the mess so many make it out to be. I've been just as productive on my machine as I was with the track pad. Still, I do want my track pad back lol.
  • The catch with Windows 10's tablet mode is that the experience is utterly tripe compared to the tablet experience on Windows 8. Therefore adding to low usage numbers of tablet mode in Windows 10. Microsoft are really never going to get anything 100% right at this rate lol; Windows 8 was awesome for touch but utter rubbish for mouse and keyboard. Whereas 10 is great for desktop / mouse and keyboard for users but touch has been just meh. I'm never going to let Microsoft slide (and I know I'm not the only one) for putting the power off / shut down menu in the settings charm (who ever thought that was a smart idea needs to have an extremely prolonged ice bath... to wake up their common sense). I'm not holding my breath for gesture friendly touch UX anytime soon from Microsoft as they would rather put credence on telemetry than user experience.
  • Microsoft is braindead!
    Windows 8=Tablet mode is good/Desktop mode sucks
    Windows 10=Desktop mode is good/Tablet mode sucks
    Why not just make a good Desktop and Tablet mode?
  • Maybe it isn't as simple as that?
  • Probably because the interface is not modular enough for that, which is most likely not an easy thing to pull off in an operating system without having bugs or other issues.
  • MS said they weren't messing with Tablet Mode, or the current functionality. They are adding this touch friendlier mode to the desktop for those folks who don't ever want the Tablet mode, but do occasionally work in a tablet-ish environment, sans keyboard or tented. That sort of makes sense. If you spend most of your time in the desktop, then tent the device to do a presentation, switching to Tablet mode is a bit extreme, but some adjustments to make touch use better, would be welcome. These adjustments were there in Windows 7 some time back, where icons were enlarged and separated a bit if you wanted. If MS believes this alone is sufficient for a touch interface, they must have laid off everyone that worked on Win 7. It wasn't, by itself, touch friendly and never allowed tablets to take off because of it. If you don't recall, Win 7 always supported touch and pen, given the required hardware. Things like the HP Slate, and Motion Computing's devices only garnered some followers because of the stylus. If you lose Tablet Mode, you might as well just go back to the Win 7 UI, and quit supporting touch and pen. Leave that market to Apple.
  • I just don't believe MS is listening to anyone who actually does prefer Tablet Mode.
  • Meh, tablet mode was garbage from the start. It did little more than put me space between icons. What's really needed for a good touch-only experience is gestures. That's where W10 completely fails and W8/8.1 was actually pretty good. There isn't even a gesture for the Start menu in W10. I've gotten by (pretty well actually) with a third party gesture system, but really W10 on tablets could have been so much more. And I'm not sure more spacing out of icons is really addressing the issue.
  • The problem is, when you're in the minority everyone else makes tech suck for you. Suck HORRIBLY. But, in this case--as others have mentioned--Microsoft is their own worst enemy. Tablet mode is only marginally better for touch users, and a large part of that is, for me, the Start Menu. I run in Tablet Mode on all devices, all the time. I run all apps in full screen and I snap them as needed. But even TM their excuse for touch support is embarrassing. And 18970 is NO DIFFERENT. I fail to see any improvement. None. Again, I don't really care what other people use. I don't buy my tech for other people. I buy it for my use, so I want to be able to use it the way I want to. And MS is crapping all over that.
  • Microsoft have already stated that Tablet Mode isn't being removed, this is just to make the desktop more accessible on touchscreens. Think of it as being an alternative desktop interface rather than a full tablet mode.
  • I think this is the right approach. Tablet mode is not really practical on 360 hinge laptops which are the most popular 2-1 right now I think and also it does not seem that practical on Surface Pro kind of devices because of the forced fullscreen which makes multitasking more clunky.
    There probably will be coming a better tablet mode (or similar feature) for Windows tablets anyway.
  • Maybe if windows 10 tablet mode was more like windows 8.1, then usage of it would not be declining... It's kind of hard to honestly say that using tablets like tablets is dying when you don't have a compelling tablet mode...
  • precisely. It's self-fulfilling "prophecy". You make an inferior interface for a certain class of device, rather, even worse, take a decent OS and abandon many of it's key features with an "update" (Win 10), and then declare that "people aren't using it" so we are going to get rid of it. so sad.
    I actually just switched back to tablet mode on my Surface Go last week and have been so glad to have the live tiles bringing me information and highlights at a glance - something my Windows Phone 7 used to do!
  • And this is all a part øf a five years plan to take over the mobile/smart phone market.... 😋