The other day I was thinking about possible ways to improve Windows 11 today and by chance I came across this idea. For a few months I’ve been using a Surface Pro X (SQ2) as my main device and the results are fantastic. It should be noted that I do not use foreign programs and the native experience is very good.
But then I thought, what a shame, with the way Windows 11 now runs in a touch environment and the poor ARM processors we have. Let’s see, they’re not bad, but they pale in comparison. And from there I started connecting the dots to realize Microsoft’s misfortune. The Redmond giant has always been in a perfect imbalance between hardware and software. Let’s see some clear examples.
Ying and Yang from Microsoft
Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile
In this first case, for those who are nostalgic for the place, there is an obvious problem. Microsoft has never been up to the task when it comes to software. Its operating system has always been a promise that has never reached the competition. We have always had dreams and illusions about some apps, and despite the share reaching 10%, it has never come close to Android or iOS.
At the time, blinded by passion, we supported the Redmond giant’s ideas. Yes, some like Continuum haven’t caught up yet, but other things haven’t been enough to come close to their competition. You can’t blame Qualcomm this time as Android has thrived. In fact, as a result of this situation, we have a strange hybrid called the Surface Duo, the spitting image of Microsoft’s shortcomings in the smartphone field.
The device I may have loved the most so far has remained in technical limbo. With this device came new ideas in what we already consider Panos Panay’s leap of faith, which has been published regularly. The Surface division left us speechless at this event that showcased the Surface Duo and Surface Neo. Two completely different and revolutionary devices that were looking for their place in the market.
Panos Panay revealed the need for Windows 10X as a simpler alternative to Windows 10. The end of that movie is called Windows 11, and at least we got something good out of it. This time the problem is on both sides. First, Microsoft’s software division was unable to deliver an operating system that worked with two screens, and Windows 10X was scrapped due to the myriad problems it had.
On the other hand, Intel has not presented a processor that can be used for this device. It was a complex challenge, and those at Santa Clara had no idea how to fit one of their processors into such a thin device. Microsoft naturally approached Intel over Qualcomm’s problem with its 8cx processors.
The conclusion of this part is that all parts have failed, perhaps this could be seen as a balance between hardware and software. Although it happened in the worst possible way. Microsoft tried to be disruptive and the idea ended up being destroyed.
Windows on ARM
Microsoft’s dream for years…is still a dream. At first, we could blame the Windows team for negligence or lack of resources. Surface RT was the first commercial product and nobody got it. Let’s just say it was ahead of its time and didn’t have developer support as it faced a platform that was trying to catch on.
If we add Windows 8 to the chaos of Windows RT, we have the perfect cocktail for something to go wrong. To no one’s surprise, it went wrong, very wrong. And yet we were able to witness another iteration with the Surface 2. Either Steve Sinofsky’s team didn’t choose Nvidia and its Tegra platform well, or there wasn’t enough power. Regardless, it hijacked Microsoft’s interest in Windows on ARM until recently.
Now we are starting to see new hope for this type of device. Panos Panay and his team have survived the beating with the Surface Pro X and have already dared to offer an alternative to the ARM processor in their most popular Surface. This marks a statement of intent and there is no doubt that the Surface Go 4 will have its ARM variant.
If we add to this project Volterra, now known as Windows Devkit 2023, Microsoft cannot be exposed too much in this new attempt. They are doing their best to make Windows on ARM work. We’ll see if it works properly. Perhaps that will open the door for it to offer a Surface Duo with Windows 11 in the future and get back into balance.