ARM-powered Windows laptops and convertibles aren’t exactly the bulk of the market right now, but there are a few – including Microsoft’s own updated Surface Pro X, which was just announced today.
One of the reasons why not every user has taken the step is that running traditional x86 applications on these Windows 10 ARM machines creates significant limitations. Among the biggest: there is no support at all for running 64-bit x86 applications in emulation, only 32-bit.
Microsoft announced today in a long-running blog post that this restriction will soon change as the emulation of 64-bit Windows applications soon enters a phase of public testing. This addresses one of the biggest complaints about the platform – complaints that have grown as more popular apps have become 64-bit in just the past few months.
Microsoft has also announced several new, application-specific developers for applications that are in ARM. Visual Studio Code “has also been updated and optimized for ARM’s Windows 10,” it said.
The report notes that Microsoft is “making Microsoft Edge” faster in ARM and improving its impact on battery life. The company also announced that the Microsoft Teams for Windows client of ARM is around the corner.
While ARM’s Windows was relatively slow, this did not stop competitors from moving forward with ARM’s plans. Apple is expected to release the first ARM-based Mac later this year.
macOS has completely abandoned support for 32-bit applications until recently, and Apple will offer Rosetta 2 to emulate 64-bit macOS applications on ARM Macs (which the company calls “Mac with Apple Silicon”).
However, whether (and how) Mac users will be able to virtualize Apple Silicon Macs’ Windows x86 applications remains unknown. The x64 emulation will be introduced for the first time on ARM Windows machines through the Windows Insider Program next month.
Picture of a list from Microsoft