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Microsoft introduces Windows 10 X for dual-screen devices (techcrunch.com)
372 points by aminecodes 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 291 comments



For people saying dual screen is a gimmick, have you not wanted to replicate multi-screen setup on your laptop (while traveling or when not on your desktop)? Power users have always wanted more screen real estate!

I've been eyeing the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo[1] ever since they've been announced (currently using a Macbook Pro 2015). I usually carry around an Asus portable second screen for my laptop in my backpack and this dual screen laptop trend is exactly what I wanted! I'm definitely upgrading to a dual screen option next.

Although I have no hope from Apple, I'm still waiting to see what the next MBP iteration would be. All they need to do is stretch that stupid touchbar enough to be a respectable second screen.

[1] - https://www.asus.com/Laptops/ZenBook-Pro-Duo-UX581GV/


I'm happy to see that Asus managed to find a way to keep the Escape key even while taking up way more space than Touchbar. Apple has no excuse.

Still I'd personally rather use efficient tiling software + tabbing between spaces than have to look down at distractions. I'm amazed no major OS developer has tried to deliver this as an advanced mode. It's the type of thing that would benefit from direct OS integration.

Most of the MacOS tiling software have occasional awkward moments with Spaces and fullscreen mode.


I've never been more happy with a desktop environment than when I used i3.

The sloppy window management in macOS combined with the scarce selection of laptops (of which none are really good in my opinion) has led me to try win10 as my development environment.

i3-like on Windows would have been great!


Windows management in macOS is downright awful and has been that way for years.

It's come to a point where all serious productivity work I do is done on my Windows computer.

I've also recently ventured into building my own PC and realized how much power you can get for peanuts with the right configuration. My last Ryzen 3700x build is faster than any Mac I've ever owned and costs 1/3rd.

Between all this and the horrible butterfly keyboard, I might be off the Apple train for good


There was a substantial period of time in the 2000s when Apple had just released Expose, and neither Windows nor Linux had anything that was comparable and Windows management in OSX was better than Windows or major Linux distros.

Well.... I don't think I've ever used Expose. I don't use it now, that's for sure.

Win10 has all I need. Alt+tab shows me Windows, not apps. Win+arrow keys will maximize, minimize, etc. Win+alt+arrow keys moves windows between displays.


Amusing because PC user have been saying this for years and years and years.


Not a full feature i3-like software, but I was amazed how it implements almost all features I like about i3.

https://www.workspacer.org/

It was mentioned in a FancyZones thread a few months ago.


Thank you for pointing that out. I have to use Windows 10 often enough to wish for something like that, and had been looking, but FancyZones was the closest I'd found yet.


Related, bug.n is a DWM clone written in AutoHotkey, of all the things. I used it at work a few years ago, and I was very satisfied.

https://github.com/fuhsjr00/bug.n


DisplayFusion is one I've used for years for splitting screens into virtual displays. Plus altering what elements show on the taskbar for those screens.

(Commercial product).


I use Amethyst (like xmonad), spaces and set the dock to auto hide. Keyboard shortcuts for switching layouts and moving windows. Three finger swipe to the left or right to switch spaces or ctrl 1-4. I’m pretty happy with this setup.

https://github.com/ianyh/Amethyst


I’ve used Amethyst twice before giving up and just going back to manually doing all my adjustments. I found it extremely wonky. For example, even after a user specifies their preferences, it will still auto snap after you make your own custom adjustments. Custom adjustments should always override the default snap-to-preset rules.

Maybe you found a way around this!


I just need Plasma-like workspaces (apps in a layout that you can switch to for different work-focuses) and "always on top" (which IIRC used to be in MS Windows) ... any suggestions?


Windows has "always on top" feature, but not all software uses it.


In Win10? It's not in the right-click menu from the application bar for Office 2016 products, for example, nor for Chrome/IE. I've used it previously, where did they hide it and why isn't it in MS Office?

That's an amazing looking laptop.

Especially when WSL2 is out ~next year, that extra screen above the keyboard would be amazing for displaying eg Terminal - with VSCode or Studio in the main screen. So many options.

The top model is not afraid of its price point, sadly, but it sure is a Hero configuration.


WSL is out, and you can get installation instructions here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/wsl2-install


Cheers. I'm using WSL1 now, but am getting too old to join the Insider / Fast rings. Have done my fair share of Windows OS beta testing over the decades, starting with Win95. :)

As we're sharing links, this was a great write up: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/commandline/announcing-wsl-2/

Can't wait for it to roll out officially with 20H1.


Have you used yabai (on macOS)? It's about as close as I think we can possibly hope for.

I still pine for i3 though.


Yes, I use yabai daily. It still feels a bit awkward but far less so than the rest I've tried. I might need to improve my config though.


I’ve always found workspaces on Mac to be great, especially with swipe gestures. It’s the only laptop I’ve ever been able to sit in the couch and write reports on, which I usually need two monitors for (one for the report, the other for whatever I’m reviewing for the report).


Courage over Escapism always /s


> have you not wanted to replicate multi-screen setup on your laptop (while traveling or when not on your desktop)? P

Remember the Thinkpad W701ds? With its retractable second screen, this was a thing of beauty:

https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/c_fill,f_a...

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/msJwcKy4PQQ/maxresdefault.jpg

https://static.bhphoto.com/images/images1000x1000/1276679060...

https://live.staticflickr.com/1707/24571574422_aeeb09181f_b....


Just wrote something similar. I agree.


Genuinely curious, why did these not work? Extremely poor battery life / portability?


Probably they were too expensive for people who buy laptops for work and too ugly for people who buy laptops for showcase.


Looks like it weighs 20lbs

I don't understand how anyone could think dual screen is a gimmick that had a DS. There were a lot of games that put those two screens to good use. I am serious.


It could have done the same with 1 larger screen. But the DS is a foldable device. It's not a gimmick, it's part of the operation of the device. I use dual screens at work, because they are smaller lower resolution screens. At home I have 1 huge high resolution screen. Not having a physical separation is amazing.


Angular size is key. When I'm on my desk I have multiple screens that cover about twice as much as my laptop when I'm working away from my desk. Since the screen is closer, I can increase it's density and then I have almost as much real estate as on my desk.

Not sold on this reasoning.


Attaching a second monitor doesn't suddenly make your main display useless.

One of the things I completely fail to understand is why most people I work with close their laptop displays when docked to secondary monitors.

I have a 34" 3440x1440 ultrawide monitor at home on my desk, and I use that plus my Macbook's display.

At work, I use 24x 24" 1440p monitors, and I use thoes plus my Surface Pro's 12" display.

When I'm out and about, on my Macbook or on my Surface, I definitely miss the extended displays. A lot.


I’m trying to work out whether that 24x monitors is a typo, and if not what you’d use them all for. I’m a huge proponent of multiple displays but anytime I use more than three the mental overhead of trying to remember which display something is on (or even finding something for every display) becomes to much.

My dream setup is two 2x2 clusters of square monitors siding a camera. Sadly, it's hard to make the camera glow red and Douglas Rain is no longer available to do its voice.

It's also probably not well suited for software development work, but it'd be a killer operator's console.


I know it's not the same thing, but damn the Nintendo DS sold me on multi screen games. Wish there were more.


I always thought it was a gimmick on the DS too. I don't remember any game that did anything interesting with it that couldn't also be done on a single larger screen.


[spoilers] 999 relies on the two screens for the actual purposes of constructing the narrative(s), as well as for the big reveal at the end. The story is unfortunately a layer shallower on the PC port of the game (not to mention that you have to choose between one of two options for dialogue, neither of which is all inclusive).


> 999 relies on the two screens for the actual purposes of constructing the narrative(s), as well as for the big reveal at the end

What does it do with two screens that couldn’t be done with one screen divided into two halves?


The screen being arbitrarily divided into two halves would give away a huge plot element pretty quickly, if you are paying attention, as well as some smaller stuff. You aren't actually controlling Junpei, as you are led to believe for the entire game, at least, not really. You are actually controlling a girl in the past named Akane, who is seeing the world through Junpei's eyes. The trick is that Akane's observations are actually happening on one screen, while what Junpei experiences happen on the other. You would be pretty crazy to see the observations made as coming from anyone but Junpei, given the context, except the whole screen thing, even though there are weird little issues of phrasing that don't quite make sense, but if the game was arbitrarily played on two screens, it'd give that bit away.

There's also the part near the end where you play as Akane directly, and you play with the DS turned upside down in your hands, but that's more minor versus the fact that the entire game actually takes place on a meta level.


I still don’t get it - the two screens are still next to each other right? So what’s the difference between two screens next to each other, and two regions of the same screen? I don’t understand how the effect is any different.

That's a gimmick (defined as: An innovative or unusual mechanical contrivance; a gadget.) and hardly proof that dual screens aren't a gimmick . It sounds very creative and may have been well executed, but it's still a gimmick that won't make it into other games.

I played the hell out of my DS, but the second screen was mostly a crappy input mechanism.


Fit in your pocket


Consider this: To gain any information from a screen, you must actually look at it. You can only look at one screen at a time. The entire functionality of a second screen can be replaced with a single button: While that button is pressed, the screen shows whatever else it needs to show.

It is true that pressing a button is ever so slightly slower than moving your eyes. But considering all the benefits from saving a whole screen (double battery life! reduced manufacturing cost! smaller device size!), dual screenage is really just a gimmick.

All you need is a button dedicated to "screen" switching in software.


This is not true for several reasons:

1) Software screen switching is not instantaneous

2) Moving your head is lower friction than pressing a button (and more likely a key chord)

3) Humans have very good spatial awareness and multiple screens have this affordance that a button would not.


Humans evolve. Computer systems aren't exactly "spatial", and virtually all attempts to model them as such have failed. We ought to strive for future vision.

1) False. Software screen switching is easily instantaneous. If you literally have two front buffers which, you must for a dual screen setup... there’s no reason you couldn’t flip between them at the refresh rate of your monitor (which is ridiculous but doable). Workspace switchers that run on shitty old X can be and many are effectively instantaneous. Not sure about Windows, but I assume something exists.

There’s more to life than Mac OS X.

3) you can still have a spatial layout of workspaces even with one viewport.


How come in people have been shown to be more productive with dual screens?

Well I didn’t say multiple screens didn't serve a purpose, did I?

Having said that, is there any good evidence of a fair comparison of dual screen vs a fast switching single screen. Most Mac and Windows setups make switching so tedious and slow it’s pretty obvious that dual would be more productive.

I would not be surprised that a truly friction minimized single screen setup (total switching latency from input to display <100ms... which is technically easily achievable (and done in many special purpose devices... just not in PC software).. and ergonomic switching key would approach dual screen in productivity. I mean, this is the typical setup I and many others use on a Linux laptop for dev work. By the time someone gets MC on OS X up, I can literally switch “screens” 3 or 4 times.

I enjoy a multimonitor (4) setup, but I’m not about to trade off battery life and space for it on the road.

Frankly it’s just easier and cheaper to buy a second monitor with state of the art, for most people. I get that. I use OSX and Windows too.

Also, I would expect more than 2 monitors to increase the gap.


People with multiscreen setups knows about alt-tab. It's about removing friction.


This is how a robot thinks. It's much more intuitive to have two screens where you can see everything in your peripheral vision and dart your attention without any extra thinking.


Virtual desktops were first envisioned at Xerox Parc and hot keys aren't new but dual screens have proven demonstrably more productive. Why is this?

Glancing from one screen to another is easier and lower mental overhead and you can look for input in your peripheral like text appearing without losing current context. You can also read from one screen while typing in another which is impossible in a non visible workspace.


In the case of the DS at least, the big differentiator is that the second screen is touch, and is positioned in a more touch-friendly place.

If your one-and-only screen is touch, you have to lift your arms up away from your buttons to press anything. No matter how much of an impost it is to have to look down a little, I'd say it's still less than having to lift your hand away from the buttons into your eyeline.


- You'll take my dual and triple monitor setup from my home office and work-office over my cold dead body

- But... on the go? Yes, I want the biggest possible screen, but also the best possible keyboard+trackpoint. So the new Surface Neo feels less than ideal.

I am open to possibility that a breakthrough in UI will make this attractive, and/or that brand-new, unimagined-today use-cases will come up; but today, I don't see how / for what I'd use dual screen with soft keyboard:

1. When I'm consuming media, portability is key AND I can only really focus on one screen (book, show) at the time 2. When I'm creating, I need a fast, comfortable, efficient method of inputing data. Today it's keyboard+trackpoint (when on the go), and I cannot imagine a useful way to type on dual screen that doesn't also make one of the screens pointless. So for me, today, transformable tablets (with hardware detachable keyboard, the way Asus Transformer used to be) is the sweet spot.

But I'm eager to be proven wrong over the course of time. I fear this may be a Catch-22 device, if insufficient software/use-cases are available by the time hardware comes out, and it just fizzles out...

Conversely, what Asus is doing where I can have my cake and eat it too (second screen AND hardware keyboard, though it doesn't look great and no trackpoint), feels like the way to go / immediately useful / good transition device.


I worked in tech consulting, and my colleague actually had a very thin ~23" (IIRC) portable LCD screen he somehow carried with him on planes. It had a foldable kickstand so he could set up a dual-screen on any hotseat desk in seconds. It was brilliant, and I briefly considered the same, but my backpack was already heavy enough. I've heard of folks doing this with the MBP + a iPad Pro, but idk how well that works.


I keep looking at those, though in the 12-14" size. I'm interested and can see use-cases.

But - you can put those to the side of your regular monitor.

It's replacing the keyboard ("underneath" / looking down from my primary screen) completely with a full-size second screen, that I don't see myself doing just yet.


It works very, very well with the "duet" app. Duet supports Windows/Mac along with any recent iPad (or even iPhone).

The upcoming version of MacOS supports this natively but it's not clear to me yet how it will compare with Duet.


It’s startlingly good, even wirelessly. I spend a lot of time working between different offices, and being able to set the iPad up as a secondary display is very handy.

The iPad display also gets its own touchbar instance, and it makes way more sense as a thin touch control strip at the bottom of the screen than it does as a function key replacement.



Yes! Which is why I'm still wishing someone at Apple wakes up from their busy schedule of making the "Pro" laptops thinner and instead add in some actual pro stuff!


that looked great, until i saw the reviews like "2 hours of battery life" and "This laptop cannot be charged via USB-C. It requires the included 230W power adapter."

this is not a laptop. this is a portable desktop


I'm sure that can be improved in future iterations. It's a much-needed innovation in the stagnant laptop market.


Comparing a screen in front of the keyboard at a weird angle to the main screen to “multiple monitors” when “on the road” is like suggesting McDonald’s to a home cooked meal “when on the road”.


The comparison is between a laptop having just the one screen VS a laptop with another screen squeezed in irrespective of the angle.

As long as I can have my terminal down there or my Lightroom film strip or a Youtube podcast open, that's a lot better experience than just one screen. Yes, it's a compromise from an actual desktop environment, but still a huge step up from not having any extra screen.


portable displays are a thing that exists, and don’t force you to strain your neck or eyes to be useful.


Yes, and I carry one around in my backpack all the time. But it's not convenient in many situations.

As I posted elsewhere:

> One of the reasons I'm excited about a built-in second screen is, I don't need to carry another extra device (second screen or iPad). I mean even if I need to use an ipad, I'm currently slouching on my couch. I need a flat surface to keep that ipad/screen at the right angle. Sounds petty but it's just very convenient to have more real estate on your lap (or on a flight or cafe table).


> Although I have no hope from Apple, I'm still waiting to see what the next MBP iteration would be.

You can use an iPad as a second screen for a MacBook. It still gives you a traditional keyboard and single screen when you don’t need that, and you can use just the second screen as a computing device on its own. I haven’t used this setup but I assume Apple would say this is the best of both worlds already. Is there something that you think is missing from their solution?


One of the reasons I'm excited about a built-in second screen is, I don't need to carry another extra device. I mean even if I need to use an ipad, I'm currently slouching on my couch. I need a flat surface to keep that ipad/screen at the right angle. Sounds petty but it's just very convenient to have more real estate on your lap (or on a flight or cafe table).

Also, I'm not too into the Apple ecosystem and don't own an ipad so would have to get an ipad just to use it as a second screen. I think it could work for some but an integrate dual screen solution is exciting.


I've done this with third-party solutions, and it's fantastic, especially when traveling.

I'm really looking forward to having it as part of the next OS update.


> For people saying dual screen is a gimmick, have you not wanted to replicate multi-screen setup on your laptop (while traveling or when not on your desktop)? Power users have always wanted more screen real estate!

Can't say I have multi-screen.. but I have wanted more screen real estate.

One thing I think could happen is to make laptops that let you fold the screen out, thus letting you have a larger screen while still maintaining a small physical footprint.


There have been USB powered portable monitors for years that would let you get a dual screen experience. With iOS 13, there is built in support for using an iPad ($329 10.2inch screen) as a second display.


Really ? So lugging a USB monitor vs having on a device. Which one would most users prefer ? Don't say "oh the external can be of higher res". Portability is a big win.


Many who do serious work on laptops lug around bluetooth keyboards + mice + laptop stands so the ergonomics aren't crippling. Adding external screens (which are generally very light) isn't a big add.


We also don't need phones. Let's carry an LTE dongle with our laptops. I am glad comments sections don't design products.


I am sad that cellular modems in portables isn't a bigger thing. It was a feature before it's time. Now that the world is far more interconnected than before, it would be more useful that it used to be.


On one hand, I would ask why? I always have my phone with me to use as a hotspot and I usually have my cellular iPad. The iPad can last 24 hours as a hotspot (https://www.imore.com/yup-ipad-air-still-gets-24-hours-batte...)

On the other hand, seeing that I always have my phone with me, I don’t need my cellular connection with my iPad either and I could save that $20 a month.

I do wonder if even T-mobile would be as generous with data with a laptop as they would with a tablet.


Most Windows users especially do seem to at least carry around a mouse with their laptops. Carrying a 2/3 pound - 1 pound iPad in your laptop bag is also something a lot of travelers do.


How much lighter is a second screen attach to the device than an iPad - which weighs 1.07 pounds or the iPad Mini that weighs 2/3s of a pound?


Are you adding the weight of the bag you now need to carry for the screen ? Or will you lug it in hand with a USB cable ?


Do you usually carry a laptop without a bag? How do you carry your laptop cord now? How snug is your laptop bag that you can’t put an iPad in it? Also, the iPad connects to your Macbook using WiFi. If you have an iPhone, you probably are already carrying a lightning cord - the same one that the non-pro iPads use.


Why stop at the 2nd screen ? Why don't you carry your processor, cables and monitors together everywhere.

How do you take your laptop with you without taking your “processor”? When you travel, you don’t take your power cord for your laptop and your phone?

That's exactly what I've been doing. But I value portability - I'm a (hobby) photographer as well and my backpack includes 2 lenses and a Nikon D850 (combined > 10lbs!) + my MBP 2015 + My usb-C powered second screen.

I travel a lot with this full backpack and if I can reduce that second screen, I'd jump on that!


Only two? Some people are really spoiled around here ;)


An iPad Mini is 0.66 pounds a regular iPad is 1 pound.


I started seeing the TB as a missed opportunity for a second screen but with the Golden Chaos touchbar replacement (a preset for Better Touch Tools) I see it as my computer's Apple Watch

The touchbar is totally under-utilized by Apple. Golden Chaos demonstrates that it just needs a new and appropriate sign language and immediately gets much more useful.

With Golden Chaos I use my touchbar to see my current email count, whats playing plus media controls, calender, time, weather, battery – and if I press a modifier key a whole universe of shortcuts opens up. My only addition - and the most heavily used function - is a button to push my current window to the other monitor. So my touchbar effectively is my tool to utilize my second screen more easily.


Honestly, I'm actually looking forward to VR headset just for this. If I can get rid of my multi-monitors with just 1 headset then not only will it be more portable but also give me more real estate.

Of course, the compromise in picture quality is still a deal breaker for me.


Always wanted to have a relatively light-weight dual screen laptop. Asus Zenbook Pro Duo is too over-powered with that GPU and large body. I want something light and preferably fanless.

However, while the Surface is certainly light-weight enough, it is too small when you type on the keyboard. Being just barely larger than a large phone is insufficient, in terms of both screen space and keyboard space. I can't type on so small a keyboard without giving myself wrist pain. It just doesn't seem like a serious laptop replacement.


I use Duet for my iPad to get a 2nd screen for my laptop. It’s not perfect but it works. If I used a Mac I’d be excited to try the new “sidecar” second screen function Apple just unveiled. But of course it doesn’t work with a PC.

Anyway this setup gives me the best of both worlds. I get a nice trackpoint and keyboard, one really good display at all times, and a second display when I really need it. My iPad is thin and lightweight enough that I always have it with me in my laptop bag anyway.

Only downside is Duet Display can be a bit resource intensive.


I've been scratching my head trying to think how this could be used; I guess as a folding monitor makes some sense - but I wonder how big that market would be?


The only issue I have with folder / dual screen, is that it's not .. ultra ergonomic on the go. Unless you're really not moving or near stationary.


Multiple windows is crucial for my work, but every time I've used them, I've also had access to a standard sized keyboard.

I can't imagine doing a lot of things without a keyboard that require multiple screens


I'm a pretty dedicated mac user but that machine has me intrigued.

Still, I did laugh at some of the marketing: "Celestial Blue futuristic sense"

edit: But why did they have to include Alexa. Dammit.


It might be useful if there was a decent mobile OS that ran on it and also had an overlapping window manager.

Honestly the OS is way more interesting than the hardware.


Wow, that looks extremely cool. I wonder if it's a problem that there's no natural palm rest while typing though.


They have a palm rest that comes with the laptop as seen in some of the pictures: https://au.pcmag.com/laptops/62235/hands-on-the-twin-screen-...

Not ideal, but it's something.


With the Zenbook, if the increased productivity let's you get more work done, it might pay for itself quickly.


Hmm, at that point might as well just remove the keyboard and use an external when you really need one.


IPad OS 13 and the next MacOS support Sidecar, which lets you use an iPad as a second monitor.


I haven’t used multiple screens in years. They tire me and dizzy. Ultrawides ftw


once you have an ultrawide setup, dual screens seem inferior


It reminds me how the first Surface Pro looked like.

It was incomplete and useless device so it didn't go well. However, Microsoft didn't give up. After three iterations Microsoft finally made Surface Pro 3, which was the first useful Windows tablet with a cleverly designed keyboard and a great 3:2 ratio screen. The surface line finally took off and third-parties began to make "surface-like" products since then.

Microsoft is not like Apple. They don't make perfect products at the beginning, but they eventually nailed it after some iterations (I know they still have software issues though.) So I will wait and see what Microsoft will make in the next generations.


Apple doesn’t make perfect products in the beginning either.

iPhone - no 3g, no GPS, no third party apps, couldn’t shoot video, and no flash for cameras. My feature phone had all of this at the time. Between 2G and AT&Ts network it was a hard pass for me. Not to mention the 4GB of memory. I did end up getting two iPod Touches before the iPhone 4.

iPad - it wasn’t apparent until the next year, but the original iPad was sorely crippled by having only 256MB of RAM compared to the iPhone 4 that came out three months later with 512MB of RAM. The iPhone ran iOS 4-7. The iPad could only run iOS 5.

Apple Watch - slow, no GPS and apps were terrible with the first version of WatchOS. They were only a little better with watchOS 2. The third generation were the first good ones.


Not sure I agree with the first two, as those products were so revolutionary, it's hard to ding them for some features they missed (Especially since they eventually got many of those features via software updates). Not saying they were perfect by any means, but it was a damn fine first attempt.

First gen Watch was trash and I completely regret that purchase, furthermore, I can't believe Apple even released it in that state. It was literally unusable for me, with some taps taking multiple seconds (!!!) to respond. It was unbearable.


Windows Mobile phones had everything bar capacitive screens years before the iPhone, and tablets were a thing for years, as well. So please, stop with the "revolutionary" nonsense.


Everything about Windows Phones (CE Based) were horrible, including the browser and the interface. Tablets before the iPad were bulky and the interface wasn’t exactly touch friendly.


Nothing but the resistive screens seemed bad to me at the time. Very useable, useful devices. iWhatever was evolutionary, not revolutionary.

I had plenty of experience with Windows CE based devices - I programmed them for four years writing field service implementations. Did you try using Office or IE on Windows mobile devices compared to either iWork,Google Docs, or later Office for iOS?

Office Mobile and even IE were fine, though I used Opera. This was pre iPhone, and I even had 3G with tethering on the HTC Tytn. Stuff was way ahead of its time, and worked great at the time. There were no alternatives!

I will never call any Apple stuff revolutionary, it's just not. It's an improvement over existing things.


> Microsoft is not like Apple. They don't make perfect products at the beginning

Oh man, try to remember how the first iPhone was. It was the most useless thing in the world. It didn’t have app store!

The lesson is to iterate, iterate and iterate


Is that sarcasm, because I had the first iphone and being able to use a browser anywhere was the killer feature, and it was amazing.


Is that sarcasm, because I had cheap Symbian 40 phone with Opera mobile way before iPhone was announced. Browser that i used everywhere. And this Symbian phones were majority of the market. Also Windows mobile phones that only geeks were using at the time also had browser and also way before iPhone.


Did you forget large touchscreen, no physical buttons and no need for stylus?

Of course other phones had browsers, they were just pain to use and iPhone was revolutionary device compared to even most feature rich flagship device. It’s an opinion you may disagree with, but you’re in minority.


I don't argue that iPhone was revolutionary although I think it was way less revolutionary than average consumer thinks. I argue with very specific claim. OP have claimed that "being able to use a browser anywhere was the killer feature" and it is just not true because most of the market could do it. All symbian, blackberry and Windows Mobile phones could do it.

>Did you forget large touchscreen, no physical buttons and no need for stylus?

iPhones did have physical home button and O2 XDA II from 2003 has the same touchscreens size as original iPhone. Also you are forgetting that first capacitive touchscreens were awful. Qwerty keyboard or resistive touchscreen were just nicer to use. And you didn't have to use stylus. Most people who I know used stylus in few very specific applications and they just use finger for most tasks but to be fair you had to be very precise.


The Opera browser at the time for mobile weren’t full browsers. They rendered on a server and had limitations.


No, that was Opera Mini J2ME. Symbian's Opera mobile was based on Presto and rendered and executed JS on the device. It could optionally compress images and JS with Opera Turbo.


No, that was Opera Mini. Opera Mobile was a full browser using Presto, and ran on a bunch of platforms including Symbian, Windows Mobile and Maemo.


The web at that time didn't need full browsers to be enjoyable. Most websites were like what Hacker News is right now: just simple HTML, little to no JavaScript, and easy on bandwidth.


By 2005, Flash was ubiquitous and one of the knocks against the iPhone in 2007 was that it couldn’t run Flash. Plug ins were ubiquitous and bloated MySpace pages and Geocities was a thing.

Home broadband adoption was already 40% (https://www.pewinternet.org/2006/05/28/home-broadband-adopti...)


I disagree that it was useless. The first iPhone had a small but very polished set of features.


The first iPhone was fantastic compared to every other phone that existed when it was released. If it was useless, so was every other phone.

There is a potential difference though: with the Surface, Microsoft only needed to iterate on the hardware, which it could do by itself. My concern with Windows 10X is that it requires buy-in from developers to reach its full potential, and that has been lacking. To be blunt, UWP attracted basically no developer attention (which is a shame, it was a pretty good development environment). Unless they figure out how to turn that situation around, the Surface Duo might be a fantastic Office machine but nothing else.


> UWP attracted basically no developer attention (which is a shame, it was a pretty good development environment).

This is not a shame, this is the logical consequence of all to lies told to the Windows Phone community, which could have bootstrapped UWP but was totally demotivated when UWP was released.

But the main reason is the stupid decision to make UWP available only on Windows 10, at a time where Win7 had the highest marketshare. Microsoft should focus on making WPF multi-platform if it wants developer to be excited again to develop native software on Windows.


There is hardly any energy behind consumer PC development at all outside of games.


> at all outside of games

And you know, all the software stacks across multiple disciplines required to actually make games and movies and TV shows and music.


That’s a profitable niche, but not a huge niche. Would you really go and talk to investors about your great startup that makes desktop software in 2019?

It’s a great market for Microsoft, Adobe, Avid, etc but not for any new entrants.


Yes, it made no sense to adopt UWP when Windows 7 was still so prevalent. I'm still supporting it at least until next year, possibly beyond then.

You also have to wonder at their commitment, WPF wasn't that old when they started dicking about with Metro. WPF didn't even feel finished. Why invest huge amounts of time and effort in a platform you don't think they have a long term commitment to.


A lot of users spend their entire life in Office and various MS online apps. This would be worth having just for PowerPoint alone. It would let you keep slides open while presenting and have other apps open privately.


Minor correction:

The Duo is the Android phone.

The Windows X tablet is called the Neo.


This! They also iterated quite fast:

Surface Pro 1 - February 2013

Surface Pro 2 - October 2013 (that's not a typo)

Surface Pro 3 - June 2014


> Microsoft is not like Apple. They don't make perfect products at the beginning

For example, perfect butterfly keyboards.


Hockey Puck mouse.

Heck my Mac-mini overheats and throttles itself not by reducing the CPU clock but apparently by having a system process just take ownership of the CPU and NO-OP things until the system cools down, bringing everything including the UI down to a crawl.

An absolutely horrible user experience.

The famous display snow that happened for years when plugging external monitors into Macbooks.


3 months in and the touch bar stopped working, it just doesn't light up. It's a work laptop so it is going for a replacement, backing up my data as I type this.

Also, some keys double type :( Perfect my ass.

PS: I know you are being sarcastic


They perfectly emulate the fragility of real butterflies.


The amount of bellyaching about the MacBook keyboard is the exception that proves the rule.


The current AppleTV remote is garbage too, Apple Watch Series 0, how many rule proving exceptions do they get? Shall we segue into iOS 13...


The first version of nearly every Apple product has had major issues. With Apple you're always better off waiting for v2.


Actually, it reminds me of that pre-iPad Microsoft project that they killed off to focus on Windows 8. It was almost production ready too; had dual screens and there was a neat video of how the stylus interacted with it. I can't remember what it was called though and can't seem to find it searching DDG/Google.





"After three iterations Microsoft finally made Surface Pro 3"

I think Microsoft does this a lot. They persist and usually succeeds. Most of the time.


> They don't make perfect products at the beginning, but they eventually nailed it after some iterations

This is not limited to hardware: early versions of SQL Server were far from perfect, but they kept improving on it. Makes some kind of sense if you have deep pockets and your product targets a very lucrative market.


I'm liking the direction laptop makers are taking by differentiating at hardware level especially with displays, Asus has multiple dual display laptops and now Microsoft's surface lineup. With WindowsX partnership, this is going to kick off a slew of multi-display computing devices.

But as a non-windows user, I'm wondering what these hardware specific Windows changes are going to do to the Linux ecosystem. I'm sure, display output to these multiple displays would likely work OOB; but the availability of an app ecosystem which can make use of these dual displays offering unique productivity advantages would be questionable.


Want to "innovate" in laptop screens? How about giving us our 4:3 laptop screens back? Or (drool) 5:4 ?

Most content (web pages, documents, code) is longer than it is wide, so any more square ratio is going to be an improvement over these silly "movie" ratio 16:9 screens. MS's 3:2 ratio screens are an improvement, but.. we can do more!

Hell, I'd <insert "shut up and take my money" meme> LOVE a 1:1 screen on a laptop! Imagine a 15" diagonal 1:1 screen, which would be as wide as a current 12" laptop or so, just a ton taller. Anything with text on that would be glorious.


> Most content (web pages, documents, code) is longer than it is wide, so any more square ratio is going to be an improvement over these silly "movie" ratio 16:9 screens. MS's 3:2 ratio screens are an improvement, but.. we can do more!

If you're reading content that's longer than it is wide then why are you telling the browser to be full screen? Practically every desktop environment makes it easy to snap windows to half the screen, even better with a tiling WM.

Personally the only "innovation" I want is a return of the 10" form factor, they also happen to have the aspect ratios you're after.


The screens get wobbly at that point. I think 3:2 is pretty good.


I liked 3:2 because it is close to the IMAX ratio.

Dual-screen laptop where the second screen is above the first? Then it would be tall, but you'd have the screen split in the middle. Maybe if Samsung ever gets their foldable screen mayhem hammered out properly that could work.


Phones are bigger offenders. Thanks for all the 1:9 tall videos , apple n samsung


Considering that Windows has been supporting multiple displays for what, 20 years now, it feels bit odd to make that the headline feature


Windows multi-display functionality has regressed with packet based display protocols. Turning Display Port monitors off with their power button is a nightmare. All of your windows get squished down to so tiny size and moved over to one monitor. They won't fix it, because they consider it a power user use case that should be solved by leaving everything on or turning the entire computer off. There is an entire after market of hardware hacks built just to trick Windows into thinking the monitor is still connected.


And then when you bring a KVM switch into the mix... sometimes it works well, the rest of the time it does what you described, or just gives up and decides there are no monitors until you replug them.


Would Windows 10X fix these issues? Microsoft appears to be reserving it for dual display devices.

Yeah I'm really wondering why it is news that Windows runs on a device that has 2 screens connected. Can anyone who upvoted explain what was interesting about this? Or if you didn't, at least why we need a new version of Windows to do the same as standard Windows already could?


It has dual monitor awareness built in and assumed, which vanilla Windows 10 does not.

For example, tapping a link on one screen opens the browser on the opposite screen, always.

That simply doesn't happen on vanilla Windows 10, as the OS isn't aware of the concept of multiple displays at that level. To most of Windows, you appear to simply have a single large display when you are using multiple displays. There are plenty of things with multiple monitor awareness, but it isn't inherent as it is with 10 X.


Yet again Microsoft spins up another version of Windows with a narrow use case. They've done this so many times now it's getting almost laughable how little they seem to learn.

Windows 10 has multi-monitor support, good touch and pen support, etc. It's already in the OS. It doesn't need a special version to add support for them at all. If it's about the way the interaction with the screens occur, just make that a mode people can switch Windows 10 to.


I think though this is, specifically for their form factor of a dual screen laptop? Knowing exactly the orientations and how the screens lineup?

Like.. I have 3 monitors, but their auto configurations for the dual screen laptop would make no sense on my PC I assume.


The Duo is the Android phone.

I am one of these weirdos that has been waiting patiently for many years for Microsoft to release a new phone and would have been first in line to buy one, until I received this news.

There is just no way I am going to buy a Android that broadcast everything back to Google. Microsoft have completely missed the ball on this one. At least towards the Microsoft users that are not comfortable with sending everything towards Google.

Windows 10X on the other hand sounds like an amazing OS. I would have loved to see that on the phone (with android app support to get the app ecosystem going), instead we get a two screen device with a huge bezel in the middle so the screens cannot appear as 1 screen.

I am sorry Microsoft, but my money stays in my pocket.


You're happier broadcasting everything back to Microsoft? What's the difference?

Yes, I have no issues with transmitting my digital life back to Microsoft. I have done so since I got my first Hotmail count 20+ ago. Since then, my digital life has in one form or another been connected with Microsoft Services.

I have never felt Microsoft has abused this trust I have given them. I have never thought that they have used my information for purposes I am not comfortable with.

I have this thing against advertisement agencies. I don't trust them. I felt the same even before Google was there even before my life became digital. It is not something new that I try to limit the information I give to advertisement agencies.

Edit: spelling


Microsoft sells ads, too. They're integrating them into Windows. Microsoft sells everything that Google sells and more.

If Microsoft could have grown Bing as big as Google by doing everything Google did that you distrust, they absolutely would have done so. They would have done it with Windows Phone, too. And they still will, if they can, eventually.

I'm not here to start an argument, just to suggest you re-examine your loyalties if you think Microsoft isn't going to screw you if it makes them $5.


I don't want to start the argument either and you are also right. They would do exactly as Google has they been in the same situation.

Like so many here, I also wonder, why they don't become more like Apple in terms of privacy.Google would have no answer if Microsoft was a privacy-first company.


I think this is the Microsoft release on it [1]. I refuse to accept Oath cookies.

[1] https://blogs.windows.com/devices/2019/10/02/surface-reveals...


One thing I’m looking forward to in regular laptops is handling of change in monitor hardware state when docking and undocking. It can take a while for the system to figure things out, other times it’s a hard reset... all that said, it’s handled better than mosx which has a frustrating relationship with multiple external displays.


> it’s handled better than mosx which has a frustrating relationship with multiple external displays.

I have two external displays, one over thunderbolt and one HDMI, and the Mac seems to have no trouble putting my windows where they belong whether I'm on just the laptop screen, just one external monitor or both.

What I've found though is the trick seems to be to make sure you have all your monitors plugged in before you log in. I always make the monitor changes when my laptop is locked.


This works well enough for me on Windows 10, but I have similar issues to you with MacOS


If you want speed just run Linux and use the xrandr command. If you use a "pager" program (google virtual desktops vs workspaces) your windows probably don't even have to move around.


If you think there isn’t a market for a dual screen device, step into a med school or any professional school. Half of my classmates carry around two devices specifically to have a second screen for referencing videos, notes, articles, etc... personally I can’t wait to get the neo. I have a 15” surface book 2 and it’s served me well but I would love a second screen with the same versatility of my sb2.


Some HN users are denying, but the recent trends definitely shows that most users values screen real estate a lot. The only problem here is that screen size and device form factor has been physically coupled to each other so you cannot have a useful phone with 13 inches screen. While MS' solution is not the most elegant one, but now technological advances on flexible screen makes it possible to de-couple them.

I'm pretty sure that MS is looking forward to using this technology, but also wants to get into the market as soon as possible. It'll be interesting to see what kinds of new form factors MS will bring into the market in coming years; they have been pretty innovative in this area.


The dual screens look like a marketing gimmick in search of an actual use...


I know it's not for everyone, but man, the Surface Neo is exactly the product I've been wanting. A foldable digital notebook that I can read books on, jot notes in, or markup PDFs on? Yes please.


Ugh, I hate reading on LED displays - e-ink displays like Kindles have are an absolute delight to read on.


One persons marketing gimmick is another persons innovation


I disagree, screen real estate is precious.


Which I agree with -- but the device they're showing it off on looks pretty cramped for screen real estate. It has two 9" screens. If we guess those are 16:9 displays, that's about 69 square inches of space... which is actually a few square inches smaller than a single 13" display of the same ratio. (72 square inches)


Presumably you can still use a window manager to page through all that content.


Just wrap it in a nice leather cover and sell it as an ebook reader. Hold your entire library in the exact form factor of one hardcover book.


I'd buy it only if one of the panel is an e-ink device.


Intel had a prototype like that last year: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/9/17444200/intel-tiger-rapid...


Lenovo Yoga Book is exactly this.

Too big to use for novel reading.

What about the ASUS ZenBook Pros that already have two screens?


Are they popular? Just curious...


Good question. I don't know, but they are well-reviewed.


Mostly I agree with this sentiment. I'd argue it falls into the "we are doing this b/c we can" and "cheap easy marketing coverage" buckets.


How cheap and easy is it to come up to develop a new version (even if it is a reskin) of Windows 10 and dual screen hardware? Surely it cost more in engineering than the marketing coverage they are getting.


Yeah what developer needs more than 1 screen. . . . . .


Ah, finally we can have 10x developer by developing for Windows 10 X

This just reminded me that SideShow was a thing in Vista times: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_SideShow



Thx, edited.


Meanwhile, I'm still dealing with random scaling bugs from connecting external monitors with lower pixel density to my high pixel density Surface Pro devices. Only thing that really "fixes" it is setting a custom scaling factor of 100% and reducing the Surface's resolution to make it still readable. (Then I end up with black bars along the edges, as the lower resolution options aren't the same 3:2 aspect ratio as the native resolution...)

This has been a many-years struggle and I wish Windows would get this right first. Never had the same kind of problems with macOS.


Do this daily, it should work fine.

Are you cloning the display? That'll require scaling of some type.

If you want to only use the external display that should work fine, if you "close" the Surface it should be smart enough to not go to sleep and instead to just route everything to the external screen.

If you are extending, then Windows 10 has supported monitors with different DPI scaling factors for awhile as well. The option isn't that apparent. Right click desktop, display settings, you can select a monitor and set the DPI scaling on that particular display.

If you are cloning the Surface's display to an external, then yeah, you'll have a hard time about it. High DPI + different aspect ratio.


It's extending while still using the Surface screen, and it does automatically get the DPI correct. Used to have issues with specific programs, some bits comically large and some comically small. That seems to have stopped, but the latest bug I've been dealing with involves a white bar along the top of one of the external monitors (always the left one, oddly) about an inch thick that renders that part of the screen unusual. Custom DPI of 100% for all monitors is the only thing that makes that stop. Seen it for two or three users out of ~35 so far.

I'll say that the scaling problems have overall improved and most of the time it works. But it still breaks randomly and often enough that I notice.


Wait, I do this all the time with my Surface Pro 3. It just kinda works, in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. My settings are 'extend these displays', scaling 175% on the Surface and 100% on the regular monitor.

RDP is a bit trickier if you're connecting to an old-ish server but I found a way round that too.


Strangely enough I have no issues doing this with Windows 10, but always have issues with my MBP! Occasionally it even crashes when I plug in external monitors.


Microsoft is showing true commitment to their new OS for dual-screen devices, by only putting it on one of their new dual-screen devices.

I think it's really weird they didn't talk even slightly how 10 X will fit into the Windows family down the road. I guess it's a hardware event, but everything Microsoft has been held back by the software lately, so that's really what I want to hear about.


I would much prefer it if manufacturers created a multi-screen setup with screens next to each other. I can imagine some form of folding or attachment mechanism that converts a single screen laptop to dual or triple screen. Since going "laptop only" many years ago the thing I miss the most is the multi-monitor setup that I used to have and would love it if I was eventually able to recreate this with my laptop.

The idea of a second screen above the keyboard does not appeal to me. I have a Macbook Pro with a touch bar and in general I dislike it (even though I have written a custom dock for it, which allows me to reclaim some main screen real estate from the macOS Dock). I understand that this new MSFT screen is bigger and potentially more useful, but the problem of having to look down on the second screen above the keyboard would still be there.

(I am aware of macOS Sidecar.)


> I can imagine some form of folding of attachment mechanism that converts a single screen laptop to dual or triple screen.

Razer is working on exactly this: https://www.razer.com/project-valerie


Thank you. This looks exactly like what I had in mind.

EDIT: Another alternative would be to be able to slide the main screen halfway to the side thus allowing a second screen next to it for a dual screen setup.


Almost 3 years gone and no updates? Is it a dead product?

That looks insanely fragile?


I don’t understand the appeal but if there’s a market for it, it must be somewhere I never thought to look.


I use my Surface with a pen running OneNote as a notebook quite a bit. The main use case for me is as my notebook in Farsi classes but I think it would work well in most classroom situations where you want to take freeform digital notes and perhaps mix them with sketches. When using it as a notebook the keyboard is folded away and having a second screen could be useful, the most obvious use case to me is having reference material on one screen while making notes on the other.

The nice thing about the Surface is that you can use it as a full Windows laptop as well and with the keyboard add on it looks like the Neo should work for that as well. Given these devices are quite expensive but also very portable it's nice to have that all in one functionality, particularly when taking short work trips.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmaioTs0NH8 @ 1:10:00 mark for tablet. I did not see the keyboard coming ! Great job microsoft


I can’t help but think how prescient Micheal Okuda was when he designed the flat, touchscreen-only LCARS (Library Computer Access and Retrieval System) interfaces for Star Trek: THe Next Generation that first aired way back in 1987, rationalising that he was looking to create a visual style which implied a simplified, abstract system of controlling vastly complex processes in a user-friendly, high-level manner. 32 years on flat GUIs and touchscreen-everywhere interfaces are closing in on his vision. Truly remarkable.


The main advantage for Star Trek though was that this kind of device is really easy on the prop department. It’s just a plane of smoke glass with lights shining through a cutout, easy to add the button of the week.

Was there any specific mention of the device's thickness? The photos look like each side is about the same as a typical tablet, which would make this thing a pretty chonky boi when folded...


5.6mm per side, I think? Might have been 5.4mm.

Each side can be an inch thick, I don't care, as long as the battery lasts a while.


The courier!


> So while a regular PC will boot up and immediately run all of the services necessary to run a Win32 application, for example, Windows 10X won’t load this subsystem until it’s needed. This, the company argues, allows it to be very efficient with the resources available on the machine and extend its battery life significantly.

Hopefully they won't decide it is never needed.


They have already tried this one. It didn't end well.


Exactly; they got that out of their system with Windows RT. (And apparently the upcoming Windows 10 for ARM will ship with Win32 support via emulation.)


Windows 10 on ARM has been shipping for over a year, and it has an x86 (but not x86-64) emulator.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/arm/


Oops, thanks— clearly I’ve not been following things too closely!

(I think I wrongly assumed it wasn’t out yet since I hadn’t heard of a new ARM-based Surface release.)


Win32 is an OS API, which doesn't necessarily relate to the CPU or other chipset members. Do you mean it will Win10 for ARM will support code targetted at ia32/amd64 CPUs via emulation?


What’s the killer app for win32?


In the event you are not joking, there are entire industries running on Win32. My industry alone (EDA) is a 100B dollar industry. I'm aware of many others.


There is a lot of Win32 using code out there.

It may even be the case that MS's long-lived flagship products (Office, VS) are not completely free of it.


Everything that makes Windows worth using.


Fwiw my question was not intended to be facetious and it may not be obvious what makes Windows worth using.


VBA macros in Excel is my standard answer.


The installers for 64 bit applications.

I like those pictures. They only show the two hands that are holding the device. The third hand touching the screen is missing.


I believe u re supposed to use your nose


Emacs users are ready.

That looks quite inconvenient. I think it'd have been better if the screen could be unhinged, and only held together by a cable. That way, I and someone across the table could follow something on the same computer, but on a different screen. In fact, if I could attach as many screens as I wanted, that'd be pretty cool...


So you want two devices that communicate via a network? Or one device with muitiple monitors? Which are both already possible...


Of course it's already possible, but is it convenient? You're sitting at an airport gate and want to show something to your travel partner on your device. You unhinge the second monitor and hand it to them. That's what I envision based on what they described, not sending them a WebEx link or trying to setup some kind of screen share.


If you're already in physical proximity of them there is no need for a webex or any other remote connection. You just show them your screen.


That's not the point. The GP comment clearly referred to using the second screen to share with someone nearby, such that two grown adults don't have to huddle around a single screen, possibly sharing earbuds. If you know where someone lives, why have a phone when you can send them a letter, right?

The point is, if you have two screens on your device, it would be useful to be able to unhinge one (possibly still tethered) to make it more convenient and comfortable for a second person to view what's on your device.

I would absolutely buy something like that for doing in person usability testing with prototypes in settings outside a usability lab.


This sounds like a solution for software rather than hardware. Everyone has a smartphone. I would rather not have others handling my devices.

>I would absolutely buy something like that for doing in person usability testing with prototypes in settings outside a usability lab.

This sounds like an extremely niche use case.


I think it would make more sense to extend the range of motion to allow ∧ than it would to make it detachable with a cable.

Edit: It appears to do exactly this.


I'm very surprised that Intel gave away Lakefield to Microsoft just for that.

Few Intel insiders I knew were talking about Lakefield as almost like a "saviour" product for Intel waning consumer electronics marker appeal.


This gives me hope that the 10GUI concept[1] might finally become a reality

[1] - http://10gui.com/video/


I'd love to have a dual screen tablet like that. One of the reasons I like reading on an iPad is because you can tilt it horizontally and have two screens of paper.

The whole concept of OS integration across devices is a complete failure for Microsoft. Calling this new thing a "new OS" sounds like a failure to fulfill what the Windows brand used to mean: support across a large range of devices. Isn't Windows already supporting multiple display? Maybe not in the "tablet" sub-OS... which is clearly not up to the standard set by the "desktop" sub-OS.

Anyway, the only thing that keeps Windows relevant even today is its classic Win32 API applications. Everything else they tried to do has always been half-baked. I'm not optimist for the future of the platform.


Where are you getting that someone is calling this a "new OS"? From the article:

> The company stresses that this is not a new operating system but takes Windows 10 as you know it today and makes it more adaptable to other form factors.


Definitely not the same OS as Desktop windows 10. It might run all the same apps, however.


I'd be excited if the small indy company behind Windows 10 could figure out how to stop putting all my windows on one monitor every time the machine sleeps.


Where's the "start" menu? Find all the product managers since XP SP3 and send them to work in the salt mines for an eternity or 3...


A Surface "Duo" phone running Microsoft tailored Android.


Ok, now make it not shut itself down randomly for updates.


This doesn't happen. Tired meme.


Now how about Windows 10 for my Raspberry Pi?



Would this let them emulate the switch?


And when will it support dual boot?


Dual-mouse dual pointer too?


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