Windows 10 on ARM to support 64-bit apps emulation

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Surface Pro X

Windows 10 on ARM is not Windows RT, but it’s also not the
Windows 10 you know. By contrast, the ARM version of Windows 10
is a full-fledged operating system, capable of running most
desktop apps unmodified from Microsoft Store and other sources.

Windows 10 on ARM can run desktop apps in a 32-bit emulator but
it does not allow users to emulate 64-bit apps in the same
way, which limits the use of 64-bit desktop apps.

According to a Github commit
by Kenny Kerr, Principal software engineer on the Windows team,
Microsoft is working to break down one of the biggest barriers
to Windows on ARM and enable support for 64-bit apps emulation.

The Github commit has revealed that Microsoft is actively
working on ‘ARM64EC’, which could be the name of the new
Windows architecture for x64_64 apps. This would be a major
deal for Microsoft’s Windows on ARM effort, with the latest

Snapdragon 8cx making serious improvement in performance.

ARM64 emulation

It’s possible there would be larger performance impacts for
64-bit apps than we’ve seen with 32-bit apps on devices with
older Snapdragon processor, but it’s likely that such
performance slowdowns won’t be noticeable on devices with newer
chipsets such as the Snapdragon 8cx.

It’s worth pointing out that Windows on ARM had a slow start,
but it’s not yet another Windows RT, which was plagued with
various limitations. The tech giant has devoted a massive
amount of development resources to port Windows 10 to ARM
processors and recent updates to the project had resulted
in noticeably improved performance.

The 64-bit app emulator for Windows 10 on ARM is likely to
debut in a feature update in the first half of 2021, possibly
with Windows 10 21H1 (Spring 2021 Update).

Windows on ARM progress will also encourage OEMs to launch
affordable devices with longer battery life in the 2-in-1
market.



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