Windows 10 on ARM has been evolving steadily, but there was a huge limitation. The Windows 10 OS designed to be operational on ARM Chips was able to emulate or run 32-Bit Applications but was unable to run 64-Bit Applications. This constraint will soon be eliminated as Microsoft has confirmed x64 Emulation is coming to Windows 10 on ARM or WoA OS.
Microsoft has announced that x64 app emulation is coming to Windows 10 ARM PCs. The ability for Windows 10 on ARM to emulate 64-Bit apps will arrive in November, this year. Although only participants of the Windows Insider Program will be able to gain access to the eagerly awaited feature, it will gradually trickle down to the stable and final release of Windows 10 on the ARM version.
Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 On ARM To Get 64-Bit App Emulation Capability This Year:
Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer (Windows + Devices), Panos Panay, confirmed through a blog post that Windows Insiders will be the first to get the feature through Insider test builds which will allow Windows 10 OS designed to work on ARM CPUs be able to emulate 64-Bit Apps. The feature will be released in November this year.
“We are excited about the momentum we are seeing from app partners embracing Windows 10 on ARM, taking advantage of the power and performance benefits of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. “We heard your feedback and are making Microsoft Edge faster while using less battery, and announced that we will soon release a native Microsoft Teams client optimized for Windows 10 on ARM. We will also expand support for running x64 apps, with x64 emulation starting to roll out to the Windows Insider Program in November.”
— Engadget (@engadget) September 30, 2020
This a huge development for Windows 10 on ARM primarily because the feature will allow Windows on ARM PCs to run every application that an X86 PC with an Intel or AMD chip inside it can run. It is, however, important to note that the ability to run programs will depend on the capabilities of the CPU.
Incidentally, all ARM CPUs and Microsoft-branded devices such as the Surface Pro X can already run 32-bit and 64-bit ARM code natively. The majority of PCs have run traditionally on x86 CPUs which were designed and fabricated by Intel and AMD. However, code that runs in 32-bit X86 mode must be interpreted by ARM processors. Although it is possible to do so, there’s a rather big penalty on performance. And there’s the complete inability of ARM CPUs to run 64-Bit code that was intended to be run on x86 CPUs.
Microsoft Ensuring Its Own Devices Running On ARM Chips Have Better Access To 32-Bit and 64-Bit Apps?
It appears Microsoft has operated on two fronts. The company has optimized code where it can to ensure programs run natively on the ARM processors. Moreover, the company has been working extensively on pushing compatibility to allow every app to run on top of ARM Chips. The slow progress on 64-Bit X86 has certainly impacted the appeal of laptops that run on Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM chips like the Lenovo Flex 5G and Microsoft Surface Pro X.
— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) September 30, 2020
It cannot be denied that Microsoft’s primary intention behind enabling 64-Bit App Emulation on WoA is to ensure portable computing devices like the Surface Pro X have access to the extensive library of apps that are available for PCs and their x86 Chips. However, this feature should allow several experimental uses of Windows 10 on ARM devices such as the single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi.
In addition to confirming 64-Bit App Emulation on Windows 10 on ARM, Microsoft also confirmed the company is making Microsoft Edge faster while ensuring it uses less battery. Microsoft is also expected to release a native Microsoft Teams client optimized for Windows 10 on ARM.