Although it was bound to happen at some point, Microsoft says x64 emulation for Windows 10 on Arm will soon become a reality. This could finally solve the app gap that makes Arm-based Windows tablets and laptops less attractive than Intel-based equivalents despite the potential to be more energy-efficient.
One of the main blocking issues in Microsoft’s efforts to make Windows run great on Arm devices has to do with the lack of native desktop software that runs on Arm-based laptops and tablets. Earlier this year, the Redmond giant released its Chromium-based Edge browser for Arm-based Windows PCs, but the fact remains that users are stuck with many x86 apps they have to run in emulation mode.
Microsoft announced today it will be bringing x64 emulation to Windows 10 on Arm. Naturally, the first to gain access will be those enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. The build with the new functionality is expected to drop in November alongside an improved Edge browser and Visual Studio Code optimized for better battery life on Arm-based devices.
The company also promised to work closely with PC makers like Lenovo, HP, Samsung, and Acer to “bring these Windows 10 on Arm innovations and products to our shared customers.” As for when we can expect to see the new functionality for mainstream users, the safest bet is the second half of next year.
On the hardware side, Qualcomm brought an improved Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 Mobile Platform earlier this month that promises better performance per watt when compared to Intel’s low-power i5 CPUs, as well as up to 25 hours of battery life. The first device to sport the new chip inside will be the Acer Spin 7, and Qualcomm says budget-oriented solutions with Snapdragon 8c and Snapdragon 7c are also on the way.