Back in October of 2020, nearly a year before Windows 11 went generally available (GA), there was a report that suggested Microsoft was working on a user interface (UI) overhaul for Windows 10. At the time, almost nobody expected that this was in fact going to be the next major Windows version and not an evolution of Windows 10 itself. This is because, in 2015, Microsoft had confirmed the OS was the last Windows ever.
Earlier this month, the first Cobalt build of Windows 10, 21262, leaked onto the web via the DuoWOA Telegram group. For those not familiar, Cobalt is what eventually evolved in to Windows 11 version 21H2.
Screenshots of the ARM64 version of the build 21262 running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Development Kit were shared there and they later made their way on to the BetaWiki website. Here is a winver screenshot of the build:
The BetaWiki website notes that the kernel and HAL (hardware abstraction layer) binaries of this particular build have been replaced by corresponding private builds of these components.
Up next, we have a picture of the desktop (below). Interestingly, as you may notice, the build has the icon for Spartan Edge. In case you need a recall, Project Spartan was announced by Microsoft in January of 2015, and a month later in February, at a QnA session, the company explained in details the benefits of it.
Spartan is what eventually became Edge, which curiously was also the name of the underlying rendering engine. A few years down the line in 2019, Spartan Edge was eventually replaced by Chromium Edge starting with Windows 10 build 18362.266.
Finally, we have the taskbar and the Task Manager, which shows the processor Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 and CPU utilization among other things. What’s interesting is the design of the Settings app icon, something which has made its way to Windows 11, but has since been revamped on 10.