Future of Windows 10 on ARM


Windows 10 will run on ARM. Full native for UWP and emulation for x86 apps.

Imagine late 2017 tablets & low-end PCs start shipping with SD835 which will be just below in raw performance to Intel Core i3 or Core M.


As you see the only real advantage the Core M has is clock frequency. But for tablets and low-end laptops like the HP Stream 11/13 does it really matter?

If this is what gets UWP development going than that’s what Microsoft is hoping for. If UWP becomes a ‘thing’ by 2018 than it justifies releasing premium Surface device on ARM that can make actual profits. 

Definitely MS playing the longer game here, but if UWP never reaches critical mass, it will all be for naught and MS will have to eventually scrap hardware and shift to being a pure-cloud services company.

Comments (26)

26 responses to “Future of Windows 10 on ARM”

  1. 5767

    Also I think it's important to mention that benefits of having Windows laptops on a Qualcomm Snapdragon are: cellular, QuickCharge 4.0, better power-management, big.LITTLE, sensor co-processor and so on. ARM chips are simply more advanced. They only lack on single-core performance but that might not be an issue soon and with better software(UWP).

  2. 7102

    I got a Windows 10 Lamina 8" inch tablet Intel Atom based:


    It working but in general its very slow not even close to a iPad mini in performance. So if they can get a similar device on a ARM/Qualcomm processor and get it fast I am very interested in a tablet with that.And even better if it are possible to use it with a sim card to.

    • 5767

      In reply to johnh3:

      By itself going to a Snapdragon 835 won't match the next iPad Mini 5 in performance. You also need NVMe SSD for fast application downloading and loading. That's where Apple really excels in their mobile devices, the great processor + fast storage + great I/O.

  3. 1377

    Off on a tangent, will there be any Insider builds of Windows 10 ARM? If so, are there any commercially available ARM devices with firmware which would support replacing the existing OS with Windows 10 ARM?

    As for the linked site, it doesn't show a comparison of floating point performance. Back in the late 1990s that was Intel's main strength compared to the RISC chips of the time. Has that changed? If not, Intel/AMD processors will remain in most workplace PCs used in financial services, science and engineering.

  4. 5664

    I'm honestly crazy excited for this. I hope that it leads to a much healthier ecosystem of lower-cost devices that offer much better performance than Atom-powered machines.

  5. 661

    I am trying to imagine what the form factor will look like for a six inch + device 

    I believe that Asus had a Zen Phone package that included a phone that could be inserted into the back of a tablet. While in the tablet, phone calls could be answered on the tablet's stylus. While a clever solution, this meant that you couldn't use the stylus (to take notes) on the tablet while in a call.

    how do people imagine how phone calls are to be made on a six or more inch tablet device. It would be too awkward to use as a phone. I suppose bluetooth head sets would work but I hope they have another solution in mind.... ideas?


    • 1377

      In reply to Simard57:

      . . . phone calls could be answered on the tablet's stylus . . .

      Thus adding to the cost of the stylus, possibly considerably, not to mention needing a bigger stylus to accommodate speaker and mic and the additional circuitry and battery needed to make them function. Better to have the phone able to drive both the tablet and a common-today Bluetooth headset.

      I can see some potential for phones or phablets able to dock to large external monitor, keyboard and mouse to be used as a stationary/immobile PC, but I just can't see any advantages for phone powering tablet-like monitor or laptop-like clamshell devices since that'd require carrying as many devices and almost as much weight as phone and standalone tablet or laptop, while standalone tablet or laptop could still work if the phone's battery is spent or the phone fell in the toilet. That is, for me the redundancy advantages of standalone tablet or laptop in addition to phone overwhelm the maximum potential advantages of phone driving tablet-like or laptop-like peripherals.

    • 5496

      In reply to Simard57:

      It's used the same as any other phablet. 

      People already make 6 inch phones now.

  6. 5496

    How hot will these get?

    They get warn to hot on phones. So if you are running win32 software. That can get hot real fast.

    You can use a fan to cool it. But that would go against a thinner device.

    Who are even saying they want their device thinner. To me, they're thin enough.

    • 1377

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Indeed. In my field, it's not uncommon to simulate a billion random deviates from some rather nasty probability distributions or numerically invert awkward characteristic functions. Desktop computing with gigaflop demands. ARM will run cool?

  7. 5530

    Actually IMO, Core M's (known as Core i5/7-Y since kaby lake) performance is perfectly fine for mainstream computing. But it isn't cheap, and nor does it deliver the amazing battery life ARM devices usually get. And of course, it's not a SoC, so OEMs have to pile on additional costs for adding features like Bluetooth, etc.

    • 5767

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      It's now about raw performance anymore. Especially with mobile devices, battery life & full-time cellular connectivity is king. Microsoft has 1 year to make the x86 emulator even better + they'll be running on SD 835 chip which is 20% faster than SD 820. I think fall 2017 is going to be very interesting.

  8. 399

    People hear ARM and think low end. I'm not convinced that's going to be the case.

    The problem with low end Windows devices isn't the processing power, it's the lack of storage. Especially when every 6 months or so the OS basically reinstalls itself, downloading a DVD's worth of OS and then keeping the old install around for awhile just in case. If anything, ARM will be worse as that emulation code needs to sit somewhere.

    What ARM will be really useful for is light, thin laptops that can go a long way without a recharge. All attributes that people/companies will pay good money for.


    • 5767

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      Also it doesn't help when MS puts crappy storage like eMMC instead of full native-SSD like Apple. If Microsoft really wants to make a splash in phone or tablet they better look at Apple's hardware template.

    • 1321

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      Agreed, all the talk so far has been Snapdragon 835 which is the premium part (anybody know the OEM cost of a Snapdragon 820?). I do think they will add support for other Qualcomm parts as the mid range SOCs become more powerful.

  9. 2

    Core m performance is disappointing, and my guess is that ARM will perform about as well in the real world and the quickly surpass it. Which makes Core m pointless.

    You know, assuming that ever actually happens.

  10. 187

    I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a new iteration of the non-pro Surface to bring a data connection to the line. Maybe same size as the Surface 3, doing the same as Pro 3 to Pro 4 - bigger screen size, with a couple of USB-C. Either that, or add it to the lower end of the Surface Pro line.

  11. 5501

    Makes me wonder how my Asus Transformer Book, which has a Core M, could be redesigned or reimagined with ARM in mind.  Its performance is not bad, but I usually don't get more than five or five and a half hours of battery.