Microsoft Windows Lite Aims to Compete With Chromebook

Microsoft is developing a more spartan version of Windows for dual-screen devices, according to sources. The new hardware, which could debut later this year and is internally codenamed “Windows Lite,” targets PC makers looking to create dual-screen laptops, foldable displays or other similar hardware. Microsoft has been creating a new C-Shell (Composable Shell) and Windows Core OS, a “more modular” version of the current Windows Shell powering Windows 10, HoloLens 2 and the upcoming Surface Hub 2X.

The Verge reports that, “the Windows Lite interface will be similar to Windows as it exists today, but it will be more of a blend of what Microsoft does with its Surface Hub shell and the limited functionality of its Windows Phone Continuum user interface.”

The mockup of the interface changes revealed originally by Petri’s Brad Sams, “is accurate and close to how the Windows Lite interfaces look right now, but things could change a lot by the time it eventually ships.” Other reports stated that Microsoft uses a “Santorini” codename for “the shell work that [it] is building to make it look and feel a lot different than regular Windows 10” and that “Microsoft could ship a dual-screen laptop-like device with or without Windows Lite.”

The long-range plan is that Windows Lite will help Microsoft “better compete against Chromebooks.” The company “previously tried restricting Windows 10 with an S Mode to just Microsoft Store apps, but most of the legacy of the Windows interface remains … [and it] is now looking to ship something a lot more basic with Windows Lite and build on top of it for more complexity down the line.”

Shipping date for Windows Lite (and its definitive name) haven’t been revealed, but The Verge suggests that, “Microsoft is holding its Build conference in Seattle in early May, and that would be an ideal opportunity to start revealing parts of its Windows Lite strategy, especially if it wants developers to build native app and web experiences for dual-screen and Chromebook-like devices.”