After Windows 10 engineers revealed the next phase of Fast Ring Insider testing and update releases would allow the production of Windows 10 to be a bit more modular in delivery, it now seems the team is setting up the building blocks to deliver both more routine feature updates and bi-annual core maintenance separately.
Microsoft sleuth Walking Cat, aka @h0x0d on Twitter, has uncovered some information that raises speculation that the Windows team could be set to deliver on a notion conceived years ago during Windows 10 development where engineers could push out shell operating features independent of core OS development.
Based on this discovery and the timing of the update, it seems the Windows 10 team has finally figured out a way to split shell features from Windows CoreOS and funnel new experiences and features through this updated Windows Feature Experience Pack app.
The new Windows Feature Experience app remains a placeholder app for now but has seemingly been updated since the last Fast Ring release and sports an independent version number from the watermarked Insider label. This Windows Experience version number is also showing up in the About section of Windows System settings on the latest Fast Ring builds.
As many have speculated recently, Walking Cat also believes that since Microsoft’s major Windows reorg earlier this year, Windows 10 engineering is split and could follow two paths, where Windows 10 Core OS follows more of an Azure development roadmap while Windows 10 Shell development can now begin working at a quicker clip.
What this could mean in a practical sense, is that Microsoft is or has finally come up with a way to develop its barebones and streamlined OS. A new process from Microsoft that allows it to deliver a more locked-down version to businesses while allowing both enterprise and consumers the ability to (presumably pay/ subscribe for enabling) extra functionality or features rather than having to engineer and development one messy spaghetti plate of code to everyone.
In essence, Microsoft could finally usher in the presumed Windows 10 Software-as-a-Service model, that many have predicted was coming over the past few years. Customers can buy the basic Windows Core OS and eventually subscribe to various versions with different feature sets based on their needs.
Again, this is all speculation and has been a pipe dream of many Windows users for decades, but with this new features app being able to seemingly update independent of the core OS release, the Windows team could be that much closer to finally delivering a better process for users in the future.