Windows 10X emulator is now available for app developers

Laurent Giret

Microsoft has kicked off its Microsoft 365 Developer Day this morning, which is another important step in the developer story regarding the company’s upcoming Surface Neo and Duo dual-screen devices. Microsoft first released the preview SDK for Surface Duo last month, allowing developers to optimize their Android apps for dual-screen use cases.

Today, the company is following up with an update for the Preview SDK for Surface Duo, which now comes with drag and drop support and integration with Android Studio, Visual Studio, and VS Code. The Surface Duo SDK is also now compatible with macOS and Linux. The link to the emulators is here, we’re expecting it to go live any time now.

Moreover, the company is also releasing a first Windows 10X Preview SDK with an emulator to test apps on the new OS. Windows 10X is a new version of Windows 10 built from the ground up for dual-screen devices, but it will maintain compatibility with existing Windows apps.

“Windows 10X is an expression of Windows 10 and for the first-time apps will run in containers to deliver non-intrusive updates and improved system resources for extended battery life,” explained Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo today. Compared to standard Windows 10, Windows 10X will be a more locked-down platform, and even though most legacy Windows apps should run on Windows 10X, there will be some exceptions. According to Zac Bowden from Windows Central, Microsoft won’t allow users to install apps that can access the file system, and that should include Dropbox. Moreover, it apparently won’t be possible to manually install drivers on a Windows 10X device:

But there are some types of apps that Microsoft is outright disallowing on Windows 10X, primarily because of how Windows 10X is built. It’s a much more locked down platform compared to Windows 10, meaning things like accessing system files and program data isn’t possible by the end-user. Because of this, programs that manipulate OS system data, or have capabilities such as formatting and partitioning hard drives, will not work on Windows 10X.

In addition, Microsoft isn’t allowing manual drivers installations either. All drivers will be handled via Windows Update on Windows 10X, meaning if you’re looking to install an older driver from your OEM, you won’t be able to do so. This is because Microsoft doesn’t expect this to be something that users will need to do on a device that runs Windows 10X, and for security reasons, is disallowing it.

We plan to go hands-on with the Windows 10X emulator very soon, and we’ll share more details with you about the new OS as we experiment with it. In the meantime, we invite you to follow the Microsoft 365 Developer Day livestream here.