Project Andromeda: Microsoft’s effort to make Windows Modular

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Windows is more than 30 years old now. With every new version of operating system it inherit all functionality and introduces tons of new features and functionalities. So now we can say that it includes dozens (maybe more) features, functions, and components that some devices today may no longer need. Turns out Microsoft already aware of this issue and working on a solution called Windows Core OS.

Windows Core OS formerly known as Andromeda OS is a modular platform for Windows. Microsoft has been working on to make Windows modular for a long time. And this is the next step in the Windows revolution.

The project was internally known as Andromeda OS. But Microsoft changed the code name and it makes more sense once you know what it is.

ONE CORE v/s ONE CORE OS

One core is the base or the bottom layer of the Windows. In other words the under the hood stuff of “Windows”. And that is shared across the different version of Windows (no matter what) such as Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Server, IOT etc..

Windows Core OS sits above One Core and that’s the modular platform of Windows aka Andromeda OS. Where hardware makers and Microsoft can pick and choose between features or functions for a certain device without it being based on predefined product variants.

As a result of this, Windows itself can become smaller depending on the device and the module you choose, the operating system itself can be built faster, and devices won’t be encumbered by components and features they don’t actually need. It increase the overall speed and improve the performance of process on smaller or less capable devices. Windows will be far more flexible.

Windows will be far more flexible.

And above Windows Core OS we have CShell. Cshell is basically what we interact with. The goal of the CShell is to bring an adaptive, scalable UI across the devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox and HoloLens.

Windows Core is an under the hood thing that will benefit users based on devices but that’s not something that you will be able to configure, customize or see. Windows Core OS will make it easier to build and easier to put on certain devices.

Image source: microsoft.com

HOW?

Windows is built on legacy code from a long time ago.

What Microsoft is doing right now is they are going through this existing old code of Windows and doing necessary changes like cutout, reconfigure, re-write and making it modular. This is very difficult to do. Specially they are doing all this changes to the operating system while we are continuously using it, even as open beta. That’s what makes this really interesting and fascinating because they are doing all this separation while we are using it and that’s why it’s taking long time. But once it’s done it’s going to give so much flexibility to Microsoft to create these new devices.

Windows Core OS effort is the most important part for the mobile side of things. Here mobile doesn’t mean as phone. Yes sure phones come under this category but mobile includes laptop, ARM devices, tablets, wearable, smart watches, speakers and more.



WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU?

Windows isn’t a universal OS. It varies for very different device. Windows desktop have components specific to desktop, phones have phone components. Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile both are very different operating system above One Core. The One Core layer of course universal layer and the only universal element in Windows. (as it’s the UWP). But above that everything else starts becoming defined based on devices.

What Windows core OS does is it gets rid of the product variants such as Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 desktop, Windows server, IOT etc. It denotes OS as a whole and you can pick and choose the bits you want on a device. And then it will build a custom Windows operating system for you and you can use it for your phone, laptop, hololens, smartwatches.

Windows isn’t a universal OS.

For example, if you want Windows on a phone, instead of using Windows 10 Mobile, you would simply use Windows 10 with components that make sense for a phone device. Mystical Surface phone running Windows 10 built with Windows Core OS wouldn’t be running Windows 10 Mobile or Windows 10 desktop, it would be running Windows 10.

OneCore and the Universal Windows Platform were the first Windows 10 elements to be universal, and now Microsoft is taking the next steps in that vision with Windows core OS and CShell.

SO THE UWP?

 

Image source: docs.microsoft.com

UWP is performing the core part in the Windows Core OS. As it runs on one core layer and it is universal layer exists in every operating system. However there are lots of win32 app and there is a least possibility that every one of them will arrive in Windows Store (Microsoft Store). But Microsoft trying very hard to do this, they introduced project centennial, lots of new APIs and more.

NO! Windows 10 desktop SKUs such as Pro and Enterprise will continue to exist with all the same functionality and features you’d expect from a desktop OS. They are not going anywhere. Microsoft won’t be taking any functionality away.

FINAL THOUGHT

Windows Core OS is the future backbone of Windows that works cross-platform, on any device type or architecture, that can be enhanced with modular extensions. The ultimate goal is to make Windows 10 much more flexible, allowing it to be installed on a wider variety of devices. Windows Core OS removes different variants and gives us a universal base that can be built upon.

As always, Microsoft may decide to pull the plug or delay or ditch its Windows Core OS efforts at any time.