Microsoft has been working quietly to develop a simplified stripped-down version of Windows 10. The Microsoft Windows Core OS hasn’t been shelved indicated a profile of a software engineer who has been working with several other developers on the platform. They have been working on the operating system that would eventually power foldable PCs, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other electronic devices that have limited power and other specific requirements from an OS. The Windows Core OS could sport a highly simplified interface that would be modular, allowing third-party developers to build their apps and platforms for custom purposes.
Microsoft Windows 10 is a complete operating system that the company keeps on improving regularly. However, not all electronic devices require such a full-fledged operating system. Many devices are custom built and require only a small subset of the functions that an operating system can offer. With cloud services taking on an ever-greater share of processing complex data and performing many resource-hungry tasks, Microsoft could be developing a simplified, modular operating system that’s based on Windows 10, but serves different purposes and scenarios efficiently.
Windows Core OS or Windows Lite OS for Foldable Devices and Affordable Chromebook-Alternatives?
Microsoft hasn’t officially acknowledged that it was working on a simplified and stripped-down version of Windows 10 OS that would be more suited for electronic devices with limited hardware and battery life. However, there have been specific reports from credible sources that continue to claim Microsoft has always had the vision of offering such a modular OS that would have the same base as the full-fledged Windows 10 OS.
A recently published report revealed that Microsoft’s upcoming foldable Surface PC codenamed Centaurus will run Windows Core OS. The report also mentions that the OS will support Android apps. It is not clear if the Windows Core OS would have the ability to support Google Play Store to officially download, install and run Android apps. Even if Google and Microsoft do not agree, users could eventually side-load Android apps on their devices running Windows 10 Core OS.
The fact that Windows Core OS is still under development was reaffirmed by a LinkedIn profile of a software engineer at Microsoft. The listing mentions the engineer has worked with the Operating System Group on UWP apps that are part of Windows and Windows Core OS (WCOS). The profile does not mention the details of the project as it would obviously be a breach of the confidentiality agreement, but the mere mention of the Windows Core OS is confirmation that Microsoft hasn’t abandoned the operating system that could be far more versatile than Windows 10 in its present form. Windows 10 is currently available in several versions like Home, Professional, Education, Enterprise, LTSC, but the differences are rather subtle.
How Would A Windows Core OS Work?
Windows Core Os would be quite different than Windows 10 OS. It would have the same base as the full-fledged OS but will be devoid of several functionalities. Instead, it would a modular OS, on which developers could run their apps and platforms. This method significantly eliminates the functions and processes that Windows 10 OS usually boots with. Such an OS would have vastly reduced minimum system requirements to run reliably.
Windows Core OS would be ideal for IoT devices, foldable PCs, and other projects that use single-board computers. Interestingly, it is long rumored that Windows Core OS has deep ties with UWP apps and web experiences. In other words, the modular OS will rely heavily on such UWP apps, platforms and web applications that do not burden the local hardware. The engineer’s profile on LinkedIn also mentioned the person implemented File Picker and File Explorer experience for Windows Core OS (WCOS).
Windows Core OS is the next step in making Windows 10 fully modular. It’s a single base operating system for all devices. Rather than Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and the Xbox operating system being based on OneCore but still different, they’ll all be running Windows Core OS. pic.twitter.com/rLK2NX3beH
— OSKOOL: PROJECT SCARLETT NXTGEN RDN2 RT=SW/HW (@OskoolG) January 14, 2019
Another profile of a software engineer claimed Microsoft is working on a Windows Core OS variation of Action Center. This could be a much-simplified version of the Action Center and most likely be maintained to ensure the notification pipeline is fully functional on the Windows Core OS. It is possible that Microsoft could be simplifying not only the technical aspects but also the visual layout of the Action Center for the modular OS.
There are some reports which extend the Windows Core OS and claim it could be the next generation of the much-hyped Andromeda platform. The Andromeda Project was Microsoft’s attempt at offering a capable yet lightweight alternative to ChromeOS or Android OS for portable devices. According to yet another profile of an engineer, Microsoft hasn’t given up on the project.
Earlier last year, Microsoft was believed to have revised its plans about Andromeda apparently because “there’s no compelling reason for Microsoft to launch a pocketable device.” However, times have changed significantly. Consumers and enterprises are actively adopting lighter computing devices and experimenting more with single-board computers for IoT projects. Hence Microsoft may be actively developing a lighter Windows Core OS for such uses.