There are hours until the end of 2020. One year of COVID, pandemic and economic crisis. Only a company the size of Microsoft could take advantage of a situation of this caliber and use it to boost their business. The coffers in an enviable state of health, Microsoft faces 2021 with enthusiasm and many projects. Here’s a look at Windows 10, Xbox, Windows 10X, and Surface.
1. Windows 10 is important again for Microsoft
Microsoft has promised us a significant reinvestment in Windows 10 starting in 2021. It’s no secret that Microsoft had neglected its successful operating system to participate in other projects such as Windows 10X, Xbox, Microsoft Teams and Azure. Now, with Apple betting more than ever on its desktop operating system and Google trying to compete with ChromeOS, Microsoft is finally showing signs of life.
Sun Valley will be an update focused on improving the design of Windows 10. In the words of Panos Panay, the newest director of Windows, the goal is to get people to use Windows because they “worship” and not out of necessity. Correcting several issues and inconsistencies in your design is an important step. So far, we know that this update could bring us a new taskbar, start menu, notification center, and file explorer. In addition, the system apps will probably be renewed, as we have started to see with the Alarms and Clock app.
2. The era of Windows 10X begins
2021 will also be the year Microsoft launches Windows 10X. It is a lightweight, modern operating system with no legacy Windows components to work on for years. Windows 10X is now complete and will start shipping in inexpensive laptops for businesses and educational institutions starting in the spring.
It will be in late 2021 or early 2022 that Windows 10X acquires support for Win32 applications and makes the jump to the general public (according to the latest leaks and rumors on this subject). We’ll have to wait and see how far that goes, but the folks at Redmond have high hopes for this operating system that will replace Windows 10 in the indefinite future.
3. Xbox: the year of Cloud Gaming
In the area of Xbox, it will also be a year full of new things. After a complicated generation start for PS5 and Xbox Series X | Due to the lack of stock and the lack of games taking advantage of the benefits of the new consoles, 2021 seems to largely resolve these issues.
Xbox will most likely complete the purchase of ZeniMax, increasing the number of studios that are part of Xbox Game Studios to 23. News regarding Bethesda will be announced and we may finally know how exclusive its games will be to Xbox and Windows 10.
Plus, this will be the year that Halo Infinte finally arrives, a game that is set to be the calling card for the next generation of Xbox consoles and has suffered a one-year delay. The 343 Industries team recently shared information on the progress of development and we tell you about it here.
As with the rest of the titles, Psychonauts 2 will be arriving and we may receive more information about Everwild from Rare, Hellblade II, Perfect Dark and the new Fable. Plus, we might see something new from Forza, whether it’s the Forza Horizon 5 or a new Forza Motorsport.
Perhaps the most interesting is the arrival of Cloud Gaming (Project xCloud) on Windows 10 and iOS. Microsoft’s cloud-based video game service has garnered fantastic reviews on Android and is ready to make the leap to iOS and, most importantly, PC, a great place to use it. Cloud Gaming is the present and the future of video games: thanks to a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, we will be able to access the entire Game Pass catalog on devices that we never dreamed of using certain video games. How? ‘Or’ What? With the power of the cloud. The only requirement is a good internet connection (preferably a quality optical fiber). We leave you here a video of its excellent performance on an Android tablet of just over 100 euros.
4. Surface: the renewal we expect from Microsoft hardware
As for Microsoft’s Surface line, 2021 will also be loaded with new features. Starting with the most probable, we know that the Surface Pro 8 will arrive with an 11th generation Intel processor, the possibility of having 32 GB of RAM and an LTE option. Design changes are not expected, so it must be aesthetically identical to its predecessor. The announcement should not be delayed beyond this month.
Likewise, a renewal of Surface Laptop, Microsoft’s consumer laptop computer, is expected. We are also awaiting an ongoing design decision but with the new 11th generation Intel processors. In fact, it wouldn’t be strange to see an alternative with an AMD Ryzen “customized” by Microsoft. For the very first time, the 13.5-inch version of the Surface Laptop will have the option to mount an AMD Ryzen, so far limited to the 15-inch version. It is expected to start trading in April.
From now on, everything is assumed. We could see a refresh of the Surface Pro X with a more powerful chip from Qualcomm not to pale so much in front of Apple’s M1, although that is not highly likely. Moreover, it has been said that Microsoft has been working since 2020 on renewing the Surface Duo with the intention of fixing most of its shortcomings: a modest camera, the lack of NFC, 5G and wireless charging or the use of a previous generation processor. Moreover, its beautiful design could be perfected by solving one of its rare drawbacks: the wide bezels of the terminal. 2021 could see this renewal at the end of the year but nothing is guaranteed.
Regarding other commodities, uncertainty and speculation are even greater. We don’t know if Microsoft will renew the Surface Laptop Go this year, a device that has been criticized for strange shortcomings for its hefty price tag. We also don’t have any information on the Surface Neo, the foldable device that was announced alongside Windows 10X. We only know that it has been delayed and that its arrival would be expected at least in 2022. In addition, Microsoft could surprise by adding new products to the range: a high-quality webcam ideal for videoconferencing or a monitor. What type of product would you like to be part of the Surface family?