Microsoft is taking it slowly, but Windows 10 on ARM is getting better and better. Microsoft has now announced that it will also emulate x64 applications on ARM systems. Until now, only 32bit applications could be emulated. In addition, Microsoft comes with native 64bit ARM applications from Microsoft Teams and the Edge browser.
We are hearing more and more about it, Windows on ARM. Windows on ARM is a special edition of Windows 10 that is suitable for systems with a so-called ARM processor. ARM processors are often found in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets but are slowly starting to find their way to laptops as well.
Initially, the big problem was that Microsoft had to build an application database from scratch again. It solved this by emulating 32bit Windows applications on ARM. In this way, many traditional applications could also run on these ARM systems. Soon there will also be an emulation for 64bit applications so that all Windows applications can also run on ARM devices.
The Windows on ARM laptops are just a little bit different from the laptops with Intel processors. It usually comes down to the fact that they have just a little less brutal computing power than their Intel counterpart, although the difference is small nowadays. However, ARM is always much more energy-efficient, so the battery life of a system is a lot longer. Also, they can often handle certain tasks more efficiently, so rendering videos is often faster on ARM chips than on an Intel chip.
In order for applications to take full advantage of these ARM chips, however, they need to be adapted or optimized for ARM. That simply takes time. First, there need to be more Windows on ARM laptops available in stores, which means more and more users will use Windows on ARM. For application developers, it is only interesting to optimize their applications when there is a user group. However, users only want a system when they have the guarantee that their preferred applications will work. That is why Microsoft has made sure that all applications available for a normal Windows 10 version (x86 applications) also work on Windows on ARM via an emulation layer. Soon the 64bit applications will also be added.
Microsoft itself is still busy optimizing their applications. In November, Microsoft will make new versions of Microsoft Teams and the Edge browser available for Windows on ARM. This will make these applications work much better on Windows on ARM.
What the future of Windows 10 on ARM looks like is still unclear. Microsoft is not very open about it yet and many manufacturers are sticking to Intel for the time being. With the advent of the x64 emulation this may change. Hopefully Microsoft will release some more information about their goals for Windows on ARM.