Windows laptops and ARM convertibles aren’t exactly the main market right now, but there are several of them – including Microsoft’s updated Surface Pro X, which was just announced today.
One of the reasons why not every consumer has taken the plunge is because there are significant limitations in running traditional x86 apps on these Windows 10 ARM computers. Among the greatest: there is no support at all for running 64-bit x86 applications in the emulation, only 32-bit.
Microsoft announced today in a lengthy blog post that this limitation will soon change as the emulation of 64-bit Windows applications will soon enter a public test phase. This resolves one of the biggest complaints about the platform – complaints that only grew as popular applications became more popular have been converted to 64-bit over the months.
Microsoft also announced several new, app-specific developers for ARM-native apps. Visual Studio Code “has also been updated and optimized for Windows 10 under ARM,” it said.
The announcement indicated that Microsoft is “making Microsoft Edge” on ARM “faster” and also improving the impact on battery life. Additionally, the company announced that a Windows on ARM native Microsoft Teams client is coming up.
While Windows was relatively slow on ARM, that hasn’t stopped competitors from pushing ARM plans. Apple is expected to launch the first ARM-based Mac later this year.
macOS recently completely discontinued support for 32-bit applications, and Apple will offer Rosetta 2 to emulate 64-bit macOS apps on ARM Macs (which the company calls “Macs with Apple Silicon”).
However, it is unknown whether (and how) Mac users can virtualize Windows x86 applications on Apple Silicon Macs. The x64 emulation will be introduced for the first time on ARM Windows computers through the Windows Insider program next month.
Listing image from Microsoft