Windows 10 on Arm will soon support emulation of 64-bit apps

Testing begins in November with a preview version.

Engadget JP (Translation)
Engadget JP (Translation) , @Engadget_MT
2020年10月2日, 午後 02:54 in egmt

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

Windows 10 for Arm CPUs, which is installed in Microsoft's Surface Pro X, has low compatibility with apps for Intel-based CPUs.

Currently, in the Arm version of Windows 10, existing x86 (32-bit) applications work directly with the emulation function provided by the OS, but the current mainstream x64 (64-bit) applications don't work, and need to be recompiled in order to run them.

That's been the case for some time now, but on September 30, Microsoft announced that it will soon be adding support for x64 apps in Windows 10 on Arm. The Windows Insider Program, a pilot program, will begin rolling out x64 emulation in November.

The possibility that MS is working on x64 code emulation, or the goal of "making x64 apps work as is, without recompiling", has been rumored since May of this year. There have been indications that the company was taking issue with the "constraints" of not being able to run x64 apps in order to promote Windows 10 on Arm, but now things are finally moving in a big way.

In conjunction with this, MS said that it is "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," and it also announced that it will soon release a faster and more power-efficient version of its Edge browser, as well as a native Microsoft Teams client optimized for Windows 10 on Arm, which will be released soon.

This probably means that as Qualcomm's chips, such as the Arm-based Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 SoC for Windows 10, have evolved, power efficiency and processing power have both improved, and x64 apps are on track to become viable, albeit with a heavy emulation burden.

This, in turn, could be a bright spot for the future of Boot Camp for Apple Silicon powered Macs, which is also based on Arm (at the time of writing, neither Apple nor MS has mentioned it). It's also unknown whether Windows 10 on Arm will be offered to users as a stand-alone product rather than under an OEM license in the first place, but if it does happen, x64 apps may still be possible to use on Apple Silicon Macs as usual.

Source: Microsoft

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.


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