OneShell will join OneCore in uniting Windows devices

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/AdrianHancu)

Microsoft has long envisioned a Windows for developers to focus on building great software and forget about the form on which they'll run. Each update for Windows 10 on desktop, mobile, and Xbox has brought this vision closer to reality, but the next step is a truly common shell. 

This is all part of the "One Windows" concept. Windows 10 devices now share the same 'OneCore' subsystem, but other than PCs and tablets – which share a shell through Continuum – mobile, Xbox, and devices like HoloLens all have their own which must be updated individually. 

Creating a more efficient system where the one shell is maintained across devices is within the shared interest of both in-house and external developers. Microsoft has begun work on this common shell with something it refers to as 'Composable Shell' or 'CSHELL' internally. 

We'll see more of CSHELL being implemented over upcoming major Windows updates for the various devices. System elements and objects such as the start menu, taskbar, desktop, and more will be available on all devices and scale in real-time similar to Continuum between desktop and tablet. 

At least for mobile, we've seen this in action. With the upcoming Windows 10 for ARM devices, Microsoft demonstrated a Windows Mobile which ran a full version of the desktop environment we know on PCs. 

Rumours of a "Surface Phone" have been reignited in the past few months and Microsoft's patent of a phone with a foldable screen could indicate the direction the company will take. The patent details a typical smartphone form which can be used like a phone, but folded out into a tablet for experiences which require – or are more enjoyable – with an increased display size. When docked, it would become a full desktop PC. 

If the patent becomes a consumer product, it offers a bold vision for the future of computing where your smartphone is your phone, tablet, and even your desktop PC. With the support of developers – something which Microsoft has struggled with in recent years – it could even be different enough to finally make Windows 10 a competitor in the mobile space against iOS and Android. 

But it will have to be quick, as others are exploring similar ideas. This patent from LG was filed just earlier today: 

Are you looking forward to a single Windows 10 shell? Let us know in the comments. 

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