There are already a few versions of Windows 10. Xbox has its own interface, as does desktop, Hololens, and the Surface Hub. But though they all share the same underlying core, they aren't quite unified. They're built on distinct ‘Shells' to drive different experiences.
According to The Verge, that may soon change. Microsoft's plan from the beginning has been the same OS, with adaptable interfaces. It will have modular interfaces automatically adjust to different modes and screen sizes in real-time.
Sources familiar with the matter say this experience will be with us this year. It may not seem like big news to the regular Windows users, but it's a vital piece to ecosystem Microsoft wants to build. It means 2-in-1 devices can truly switch between laptop and tablet, and that the company won't need a new shell for every device category.
An Ever-Changing Interface
This could become particularly important if the rumors of Microsoft's Courier-like device are true. The digital notepad will have two screens that can be folded or unfolded, and needs to be very adaptable as a result.
However, beyond this is the idea of different interfaces for different tasks. If gamers plug in an Xbox controller, Composable Shell will adjust to look more like Xbox One. If the user is planning to work, it a mode could reduce visual distractions to aid productivity.
According to The Verge, Composable Shell will debut with the Surface Hub 2 this year, though the changes will likely be subtle at first. Then, as the experience is refined, we can expect to see it on desktop, tablet, and possibly the much-rumored Surface Phone.