ARM-Based Windows 10 Portable PCs!? Hell Yes!

Posted on December 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 147 Comments

ARM-Based Windows 10 Portable PCs!? Hell Yes!

In an unexpected move, Microsoft tonight announced a major new partnership with Qualcomm to port Windows 10 to ARM. No, not Windows 10 Mobile. Real Windows 10 on a new generation of portable PCs.

“What we’re really providing here is choice,” Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson told me earlier this week. “And Qualcomm chipsets have two major advantages that our PC maker partners and customers have been asking for: Incredible battery life and efficient, integrated cellular connectivity.”

Of course, you may be thinking, hold on a second here. I’ve read this story before. This is just Windows RT again, right?


This is full Windows 10 for PCs, not some stripped down version. It’s Windows 10 Home and Pro, on ARM. And Windows 10 Enterprise, with all the functionality that businesses expect, including domain join. This is Windows RT done right.

Even better, Windows 10 on ARM will supply a long-rumored feature: The ability to run 32-bit Win32/x86 desktop applications—Apple iTunes, Adobe Photoshop, Google Chrome, whatever—directly on the system, unchanged.

Two major technological changes have made this miracle possible. First, Qualcomm’s System on a Chip (Soc) designs have improved so dramatically in the past four years that their performance rivals that of mainstream Intel Core chipsets for PCs. And even better, Microsoft has developed an emulation technology that allows Win32 applications to launch and run unmodified on ARM-based PCs. And to do so with what I am assured is excellent performance.

According to Mr. Myerson, where ARM-based PCs really exceed their Intel-based equivalents from a power management perspective is that they provide a much lower idle power draw. “Basically, they hold their charge longer when sitting unused in a bag,” he told me. In use, with the screen on, the experience was “similar,” he said.

But ARM chipsets also provide integrated cellular modems, enabling what Microsoft calls not just pervasive connectivity, but everywhere connectivity. And to support smartphone-style connectivity on these new PCs, Microsoft will sell data connectivity directly from the Windows Store, and will change Windows 10 so that it can intelligently move between Wi-Fi and cellular networks on the fly. Users will be able to provision and use cellular data from a variety of sources, I was told.

“Device makers have been requesting this,” Mr. Myerson told me, noting that the first ARM-based Windows 10 PCs would be mobile devices, like laptops. But this doesn’t signal an end to the Intel era, he said, Instead, PC makers and customers could choose based on their needs, and thanks to the Win32 emulation technology, application compatibility won’t be the problem it was in the past. Naturally, those with high-performance needs—gaming PCs or mixed reality, for example—will continue to choose Intel (or AMD).

As rumored, this functionality will require Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC and, as such, it will be late 2017 or sometime next year before such devices are shipping in volume. In other words, this isn’t happening in the Windows 10 Creators Update timeframe. Instead, this will be a feature of the next version of Windows 10, which is expected in late 2017.

“The natural timeline for devices is normally about two years,” Myerson told me. “But what we’re doing is developing this technology in the open, rather than doing it with a more limited group under NDA. So we’ve decided to come here to China and reveal our plans. Hardware makers will create great devices on their own timelines. Some can do amazing work in a year [meaning late 2017], while some will begin shipping in early 2018.”

Naturally, I had to ask about Windows 10 Mobile and Surface phone.

After all, rumors about a Surface phone, perhaps one that could run Windows desktop applications when docked with Continuum, have been making the rounds for months. If not years.

“Today we are announcing support for PCs on Qualcomm Snapdragon SOCs,” I was told.

Right. But what about the future?

“Today we are announcing support for PCs on Qualcomm Snapdragon SOCs.”

The suggestion here, I suppose, is that some future version of the Win32 emulation technology could be made to run on Windows 10 Mobile. Since Windows 10 Mobile is, after all, a variant of Windows 10.

But I think there is a more intriguing possibility afoot and it’s one that Mary Jo Foley and I arrived at on Windows Weekly back in September (if I remember correctly). Perhaps Surface phone isn’t a phone in the traditional sense. Perhaps it is, instead, just a new kind of PC with a small—for PCs; I’m hearing 6-inches—screen. A Surface Mobile, if you will.

That, of course, is just speculation. But Windows 10 on ARM—full Windows 10 on ARM—is real. And it’s happening. And I am suddenly very excited for a future in which portable PCs can be true best-of-breed devices that meld the best of the PC with the best of today’s mobile devices, and do so in a way that isn’t burdened by compromise.

We live in exciting times.


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Comments (147)

147 responses to “ARM-Based Windows 10 Portable PCs!? Hell Yes!”

  1. 677


    Paul is excited.



    • 600

      In reply to Shane:

      He was excited about windows phone too and we all know how that turned out...


      Kidding aside, this looks pretty cool. There could be a future for windows in the small form factor tablets after all

    • 2

      In reply to Shane:

      So, I will say this. At least you know it's legit when I am excited. And that I'm not excited by just anything. :)

    • 5767

      In reply to Shane:

      You should have heard him on Windows Weekly. Just bashing Microsoft mercilessly on the home hub stuff. It seems that in the wake of MS Mobile/Band failures Paul is not in any kind of forgiving mood.

  2. 6012

    Why so late all the time? This is what RT / original surface should have been. Maybe business will adopt this but consumers have moved on to Ipad / chromebooks 

    • 5530

      In reply to Jhambi:

      I'm guessing it's a performance thing? Or maybe just the sheer progress of ARM cpus in their performance-price value?

    • 6152

      In reply to Jhambi:

      IMO, it was a political decision and not a hardware problem.

      There were a lot of ways Microsoft could have opened Windows 8 RT, and it didn't. From letting people recompile x86 binaries to providing emulation. But at the time it still was enamoured with the Apple strategy of giving no control to the end user and earning heaps of money with a unique store.


      Btw, I'm still using my Windows 8 RT tablet (in addition to my SP3 Pro), and it works fine with Office, Internet browsing, YouTube watching and more. It still is one great tablet if you don't need the latest games / fotm apps.

    • 9030

      In reply to Jhambi:

      So, I guess this means that my old Surface RT won't be getting this Win10 upgrade I guess :/

    • 5539

      In reply to Jhambi: This is how progress works. Do you see Apple running MacOS on iOS devices. Similar problem. Why weren't VCRs 4K when they first came out. That's what video should be, right.


    • 622

      In reply to Jhambi:

      ARM processors are not powerful enough for many of these features, even a year ago. Remember this will be coming to Snapdragon 835 which is slated for late 2017 and early 2018 production.

      • 5234

        In reply to VasiS:

        They showed the processor running quad-core at barely over 1GHz too.  Plus you add emulation on top of that.  The whole thing is going to be a sh*tty experience all around.


        No doubt by the time Microsoft can get OEM's on board, get carrier approval, and get drivers written for the platform, it'll be panned by reviewers for being hideously slow, and they'll market it as a business feature to run legacy apps and nothing more, just like "Windows XP Mode".

  3. 5510

    This is good.

    However, in order for Windows PCs to halt or at least slow the rate of decline, it has to change one thing, Windows itself.

    If ARM can make PC's cheaper, faster, and last longer than they are now, then GREAT! However, I seriously doubt that the average person cares about stuff like this, nor do they want to know. What they care about it, is getting stuff done faster and easier, with no problems at all.

    Once site already reported on this news and the author speculated on how he expects PC's to be cheaper and more competitive to Chromebooks. People, right now, there is no comparison. Chromebooks and iPads are popular because they are S-I-M-P-L-E, Simple. When Windows becomes simpler, then there is really reason to be excited. As of now, this news is just...ok.

  4. 187

    Maybe this could kickstart the Surface 4 (at least to show what it is capable of).

  5. 54

    I'm rather impressed with this news. If they do bring it to a Surface phone, or a phone with the Snapdragon 835 SoC, and Continuum, I'd buy one (and buy it outright rather than buying it on a plan with Telstra). I may even pick up an ARM-based tablet/portable PC as well.

    • 5496

      In reply to c.hucklebridge:

      And you probably have a PC at home. So what would be the point of having this on a phone?

      • 5539

        In reply to lordbaal1: l'm not always home. Are you? I do always have my phone.


        • 8578

          In reply to SvenJ: As a practical matter, do you think you can effectively use Win32 apps running on your phone "on the go"? You probably don't carry a keyboard, mouse, and monitor away from home so continuum is just as tethered as a PC.


          • 9034

            In reply to skane2600:

            The difference is that instead of using one desktop at work, one at home (office), and perhaps even another one when on the go, you have one device. All the synching is a big headache, and your company may even force you to use a remote desktop connection to work from. If you can bring home the work PC...

            In a pinch, you can always use the apps directly on the phone. If there's no alternative (probably mostly used to send a file to a colleague for example). On travels, you'll always be able to find a TV/monitor with HDMI. Just bring a BT mouse and keyboard, and the USB-C to HDMI adapter. Or you have some sort of laptop that consists of screen, keyboard, touchpad and battery only. Brings down cost, and headache due to only having one computer.

            • 6447

              In reply to kadajawi:

              except when this One Computer gets dropped in the crapper, or falls out of pocket and run over. You enjoyed the convenience of not having to sync devices but now all the work was lost on that one device. Come on - MS is big into the cloud themselves. 

            • 8578

              In reply to kadajawi:

              Having separate work and home devices is actually a good idea. And lugging around a keyboard and monitor or hoping you can find a TV you can easily attach your device to sounds inferior to just bringing a laptop that integrates everything in one device. If it works for you, great, but I doubt many people will buy into it.

  6. 2532


  7. 5496

    And most people probably have a PC at home and at work. So what would be the point of having Windows 10 on a phone?

    I don't understand why people want this on a phone.

    • 8578

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      I think it's the siren call of having one device that does everything. But the historical evidence is that these "all-in-one", generic solutions are always a compromise. While it can be handy using the tools on a Swiss Army Knife in a pinch, you wouldn't want to use them as your exclusive tools for serious work.

      • 6447

        In reply to skane2600:

        Exactly. Particularly in this age of "the cloud" and I can't understand this "one device" mentality. Yes, I understand the attraction to the idea but I know better. Multiple best tools for the job. The UNIX philosophy is "do one thing and do it best". Devices are cheap and plentiful these days. MS's future is in cloud computing. 

      • 9034

        In reply to skane2600:

        My day job is done on a 2009 iMac. Core 2 Duo it is. I do a lot in Photoshop (and file sizes are around 1 GB, dozens of layers). Dual screen setup, and usually I'm running Chrome with a few tabs, Safari with a dozen or two of tabs (or more) and perhaps Firefox too. Yes, the machine has 16 gigs of RAM, but that's it. Otherwise it is an ancient system, and it works fine. One of these Snapdragon equipped devices should be faster... as long as the phone or tablet has enough ports, enough RAM and at least 128 gigs of SSD (the files reside on a server) I'd be fine. Attach the phone to a dock at work, do the job, and when I get home and need to get something done, I've got my computer right with me. And if I, running Photoshop etc. on the system, would be fine, then pretty much everyone would be.

        This. Is. Huge!

        These ARM chips are fast, power efficient, run cool... and keep in mind that the 820 etc. are designed for smartphones. They are meant for low power consumption (these devices have to run all day on a tiny battery), they have massive heat limits. Qualcomm could design chips meant for laptop/tablet use, where power consumption can be higher thanks to bigger batteries (and when you don't need the power, consumption probably won't be worse than with slower SoCs), and there is more space for cooling. They could let the passively cooled tablet/notebook run a bit warmer at higher speeds.

        Intel is screwed. Badly. And AMD even worse. There is NO reason for Atom processors to exist. These ARM chips are faster, more frugal, and just as cheap if not cheaper. And AMD thrives off lousy Atom competitors, which are even worse. And even the Core M... they are fine, but only for a limited time, until they get too hot. These ARM chips should be as fast, but without slowing down, without draining the battery.

        This could even hurt Android and iOS, because if (or when) Microsoft drops Windows 10 Mobile and just uses Windows 10 on Smartphones, suddenly people get a computer that is fast enough for day to day use, that happens to be their phone too. Yes, most people have a computer at home already (at least in the Western world), but that may be an ancient machine. Companies may start to issue these phones to their employees, especially those on the go, or those who work from home occasionally. Instead of a laptop, and perhaps a dock with monitor and everything, and a company phone, they can provide that phone. Add a dock, monitor and keyboard at the office. Perhaps any, employees don't have to have fixed seats anymore. There can be things like the Foleo... screens with keyboard, that serve as a notebook. And on and on and on.

        • 8578

          In reply to kadajawi:

          The speed of the processor isn't the main issue, it's the ergonomics. There's no reason to buy an expensive smartphone just so it can act as a portable CPU unit for desktop peripherals. The fundamental value of any portable device is how useful it is in a mobile environment. 

  8. 5553

    Microsoft just took a dump on Apple and Google.

    On the other hand can't wait for my phone to bluescreen.??

  9. 548

    Literally my ONLY real worry with all of this is Microsoft's history of picking one mobile carrier and doing exclusives with them...and not even the largest carrier.  I fear it will be "everywhere long as it's in the US and only on AT&T".  Other than that, this is tremendously exciting :-)

  10. 5394

    If we apply the rule to wait until the third generation, it will be beyond late and even further behind. The thing is ARM is a mobile processor and the demo shows full PC Windows 10. What it should have demonstrated instead is Windows Phone with full Windows 10 capability. See the difference? They fixed what was wrong with Windows RT without fixing the concept. Windows will always be the half step until apps gain traction. They will never get to apps with Windows. 

    • 5496

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Enough with the apps. Windows 10 is a desktop, it does not need app. It has millions of legacy programs.

      • 6447

        In reply to lordbaal1:

        Name a few of the millions of 32-bit win32 legacy desktop applications that people are clamoring to run on a handheld device such that it will cause great excitement for consumers or even businesses. Except for a few crusty old niche developer/creator applications (32 bit only) and such, much better modern apps exist already for most needs on iPads and smartphones. For example - desktop winamp from 2003 emulated for ARM or Spotify app. Hmm, what will people choose? 

    • 9034

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Windows Phone is dead. Good riddance. Eventually Microsoft will port the dialer and whatever else is necessary on a smartphone to Windows 10. That's how they'll end up implementing and marketing Windows 10 smartphones. By saying users get a smartphone that turns into a full on PC like the ones they are used to when they need it. Lower end versions will drop the Continuum feature I suppose. Some Windows 10 functionality may be removed to save space on the internal memory. But otherwise they too will be Win10.

  11. 4524

    I wonder if MS will let devs easily recompile Win32 apps to run natively on ARM.  I know they want to push devs to UWP, but then there's reality.

  12. 5234

    Once you run emulation on ARM, you're eliminating all the power efficiency and battery power benefits you get from that platform.  It's slower than x86 right now, and in two years time, will still be slower.  Add to that the emulation layer, and it's going to be slower still.  Customers won't stand for that.  Microsoft will reposition this as "Win32 Mode" ala "Windows XP Mode" and will relegate it to business app backwards compatibility - mark my words.


    ....still waiting on my Hololens with Minecraft AR....

  13. 2592

    Kudos to MS. If anything, I see this as MS answer to Google's Chromebook

    • 399

      In reply to shameermulji:

      I doubt it. Any Surface Phone/"HP Elite X4" is going to be several times the price of a Chromebook, as is every smartphone with a latest gen Snapdragon 8XX series processor.

      • 2592

        In reply to maethorechannen:

        It won't be that much different in price and the performance benefits and capabilities easily outweigh any price difference, especially in enterprise or education.  Having said that, I should've been more clear because I was referring to PC's, as in laptops / tablets.  A thin / light laptop or better yet a Surface Pro running Windows 10 on ARM would be a great alternative to a Chromebook.

      • 289

        In reply to maethorechannen:

        This isn't just about Surface Phone/Elite X4.  There will be laptops at all price ranges.

      • 4841

        In reply to maethorechannen:

        They cost that much for other reasons, not the SoC, which itself costs only $70 per Daniel Rubino:

        "A performant x86-64 processor is also much more expensive than ARM. This pricing matters to companies trying to create new categories of devices with greater abilities. For example, an Intel ATOM chip is around $37, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 runs about $70. But an Intel Core M processor starts at $281 and a Core i7 can go over $600."


        So, yeah, if you can find Core M devices that you consider to be cheap then Snapdragon 835 ones will be even cheaper.

        • 5234

          In reply to Demileto:

          Atom chips are faster than what ARM has.  NVIDIA scored top ARM scores for Tegra 4 when it launched, and yet Bay Trail stomped on it.  Add an emulation, and the speed on that ARM chip makes it unusable.

          • 2592

            In reply to Waethorn:

            Not anymore. That ship has sailed. The A10 SoC in the iPhone 7 / 7 Plus is as fast as the Intel Core m processor that's used in the 12" Retina Macbook and non-Pro Surface models and faster than Intel's Atom processor. And I'll wager the Qualcomm 835 SoC will be quite a bit faster than Intel's Atom processor. 

        • 399

          In reply to Demileto:

          If we're talking about a Surface Phone, then we're talking flagship class prices to go with the flagship class SoC.

          Even if this is coming to laptops, just because it's ARM doesn't mean it will be cheap. With margins being so thin, manufacturers might want to pocket as much of the difference as possible.

  14. 1143

    There is no Surface Phone! There is a 5.5" or 6" Surface PC! And maybe later a 5.5" foldable Surface PC that expands to an 8" PC!

    Edit: This is the device that can very well change the mobile environment and can drive up the development of UWP apps!

  15. 5611

    That would explain the sudden increase in Microsoft's stock value.

    This really is big news!

  16. 5639

    I can picture some Intel executives getting woken up in the middle of the night saying...

    "dear god..."


    This could be Iphone huge.  The PC suddenly can finally adapt to new form factors, not possible because of x86 /intel limitations

  17. 8922

    The possibilities does seem endless.  Hopefully Microsoft sees this through.  I'm certainly looking forward to this!  The possibilities for a Surface Phone just got even better!

  18. 326

    This would have been huge 4 years ago. Now everyone is on mobile devices (and not the Windows kind).

  19. 5553

    Pretty soon phones will run on potato chips.

    Nom nom nom 

  20. 289

    Not to sound like too much of a noob, but would Windows on ARM have fewer issues with security or be less of a PITA for average users (i.e. would it be more "well behaved" like a mobile OS)?  

  21. 442

    I still contend the original Surface should have held on.  Sure it would continue to sell poorly for a while, but eventually this platform will take off and become a staple for many folks.  Too bad MS killed the developer initiative needed to make this new venture more successful.

  22. 1995

    We knew this is going to happen sooner or later. What I didn't anticipate is MSFT's shift of allegiance from X86 to ARM to run Win 10 UWP and legacy X86 apps on phones. Does this mean that Intel and AMD are going to be booted out of the mobile space because of their inability to boot up mobile devices? Too early to call. But a scary thought for x86 chip makers is the fast pace by which ARM chips are gaining steam. Today, ARM owns phones, tablets, TV boxes, and TVs (with built-in web modules). Tomorrow, ARM will invade laptops, 2-in-1s, convertibles, and desktops. Intel and AMD should start invading the world of dwarf machines or they run the risk of becoming dwarfs. Wake up x86 giants !!!

  23. 459

    Windows is back, baby!!!

  24. 223


  25. 5641

    This is exactly the sort of work that developers need to hear. Windows RT failed because it couldn't run x86 compiled software - the RISC SOCs at the time were not up to it and so developers were scared off the platform.

    Apple moved from RISC (PowerPC) to CISC (x86) using Rosetta and essentially, this is what Microsoft are doing - but in reverse CISC (x86) to RISC (ARM) but only for small factor.

    From Microsoft's perspective - UWP is still going to be the preferred choice as that platform will run natively on either x86 or ARM but the x86 emulation layer will provide that backwards compatibility that's been missing - particularly for business - as they transition from Windows 7 to newer form factors.

    Now developers can embrace small factor ARM based devices as there will be a large library of x86 products already compatible which will help legitimise the platform (but they will look horrible on a small screen so will probably only be available via Continuum).

    Unfortunately, emulation will always be slower than native (UWP in this case) and just like Carbon was slower than Cocoa, it provides a stepping stone for devs to embrace UWP.

    Will this entice people across from Android and Apple? Do consumers care? Microsoft already has the market in desktops and laptops - but the phone / tablet market has eluded them. Will this make enough of a difference to push Android / iOS out? Going to be an interesting ride when the details emerge.


  26. 8578

    I think the key issue is price/performance. If emulation allows a high-end ARM processor to run Win32 apps as well as a low or mid-level X86 at about the same price, I'm not sure what difference it will make (I have no idea what OEM prices are, so I'm not making any claims). It's also easy to imagine that the demo cherry-picked examples, we won't really know the performance until the products are available. I could see Intel dropping prices if this looked like a credible threat.

  27. 206 my question is this then:  Isn't this going to allow devs to be super lazy when it comes to building out touch screen interfaces?  Their apps now work, why worry about building the UI needed for small screens? (ie. mobile devices) They'll just expect you have a keyboard & mouse handy...

  28. 4982

    Are they porting just Windows desktop or server too?  I suspect where this will be used the most is with server since the power savings with ARM would be significate to the bottom line of your typical server farm.

    • 2

      In reply to spacecamel:

      They didn't discuss Server but I think they are. Qualcomm just announced 10 nm server ships too, BTW.

    • 442

      In reply to spacecamel:

      Hold on there.  If you need less power draw and smaller processing requirements, I'm betting VM will do far better than any ARM setup for most situations (if not almost all.)

      • 5234

        In reply to Narg:

        Processor density through virtualization is a completely different ball of wax.  Hyper-V is a totally different sphere of technology over just porting the kernel over.  ARM doesn't even do virtualization technology the same as Intel, and it's still in its infancy.

  29. 1161

    This is huge. I might even retire my ARM-based Chromebook for a Windows on ARM machine.  

  30. 5496

    "First, Qualcomm’s System on a Chip (Soc) designs have improved so dramatically in the past four years that their performance rivals that of mainstream Intel Core chipsets for PCs." I don't think so. These will never be as fast as Intel chips.

  31. 465

    I have to wonder if Microsoft is going to use this as a chance to improve issues steming from legacy.  For example, maybe legacy win32 x86 support will be rolled up in a container?  Maybe native ARM apps will require appx and/or UWP support?  Thoughts?

  32. 9272

    In the future, when all windows10 devices are cellular devices, the idea of phone or mobile device goes away. In this scenario, Windows 10 IS the way you make a "phone" call, doesn't matter which device, tablet, desktop, surface studio, hololens, vr, etc. I'd imagine they'd figure out how to roam between these cellular devices. If MS is building a new device, I doubt they will attach the word "phone" to their 5.5" pocketable tablet device like some company I know. Interesting times indeed!

  33. 6447

    Again its a "you-think-you-want" sort of thing. Why should we be excited that select "full legacy windows 32-bit" applications may run (to varying degrees) on ARM mobile devices in general. If I am using full windows only desktop applications I want the most power I can get for the price, on whatever size and power consuming machine is best -- not being able to run such old workhorses like Orcad  or Visual Studio 2008 on a tiny screen and think its cute for a few minutes. This is similar to Linux people thinking its cool they can run MS Word 2003  on Linux with Wine (for a few minutes before a certain action makes it go poof suddenly). 

  34. 8035

    Might this be the next Surface 4 or 5 ?

  35. 1792

    To me this looks like theformal transistion away from the desktop pc to the portable mobile pc. Wintel admins will have to become Winarm. 

    Heavy duty pcs and servers will probably be Intel for a while but this is the most serious challenge to the Intel monopoly.


  36. 5553

    If Softie can send us updates directly like Apple for phone devices this would be great.

  37. 7037

    This spells the beginning of the end for Intel. Qualcomm is attacking Intel in both the mobile and server markets. Qualcomm processors are outpacing Intel processors when it comes to performance improvement. I don't see Intel being able to up their game to match Qualcomm.

  38. 6263

    If Microsoft can pull this off IN A TIMELY FASHION, they will dominate computing worldwide within ten years. This strategy would cover all the bases.

  39. 5539

    In reply to Awhispersecho: I must be out of touch, I thought it was, can it run Doom.


  40. 8850

    Great post Paul

    This is upbeat positive news and the future seems exciting again. Microsoft's being proactive on this is most welcome its like windows RT resurrection. You haven't been this excited since windows longhorn yikes when was that 2003.

  41. 8035

    Will this new version work on a Surface RT?

  42. 5833

    This likely explains the no show of a Surface 4 last year.....

    They are going to do an ARM surface right.... and as all have mentioned likely a Surface Phone/Phablet.

  43. 7290

    What is the big deal really?

    So I can run x86/win32 software on a ARM based Windows device via emulation.  Please tell me what scenario that this would be needed???

    Also how does this help Windows Phone?  Are all of those apps that are on Android and iOS but not Windows Phone ......are on x86/Win32 so I can now run them via emulation on my new Windows 10 ARM/Surface Phone???  No they are not on x86/Win32 so I still can't run them on Windows Phone.

    If Windows Phone had been properly supported by developers and had great NATIVE app support and was a real contender today, then I could see how this could really help Windows Phone.  It would have the ability to also run x86/Win32 apps and continuum would be a huge deal.

    I just cant see why I would not just buy a normal laptop to run x86/Win32 apps in NATIVE mode.

    • 9034

      In reply to Gilfoyle:

      The big deal is that it makes these devices very compelling for corporations, plus for consumers too as the lower power consumption and heat emissions make for smaller, thinner, longer running devices... let alone cheaper, because anything Intel makes (except for the terrible Atom CPUs that are already easily beaten hands down by ARM chips) is significantly more expensive. The reason why no one bothered developing apps for Windows Phone is that no one had a Windows Phone. Once companies start issueing these things on a large scale, and people start buying tablets and notebooks running ARM chips, there is a compelling reason to develop for Windows 10 smartphones.

      • 6447

        In reply to kadajawi:

        not to be cynical but windows and phone/mobile will continue to decline across the board, as it has been for years. If anything they become like apple, making expensive "surfaces", not even selling the OS itself.

  44. 5629

    Any computer science student who has designed a CPU knows the inherent and compelling nature of RISC CPUs.  Intel has tried for decades to persuade developers to eschew RISC CPUs and to use Intel's bloated complex CPUs.  This has been to the detriment of all of IT and a huge inhibitor to technological advancement.

    Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for Intel and the enormous negative impact that Intel's CPUs have had on the world.

    • 6447

      In reply to truerock:

      "Intel has tried for decades to persuade developers to eschew RISC CPUs and to use Intel's bloated complex CPUs. This has been to the detriment of all of IT and a huge inhibitor to technological advancement."

      Replace "intel" and "CPU" with "Microsoft" and "Windows" above. If anything I'd like to see MS get out of the windows business rather than intel going under. It would not be good to see ARM so dominant. We have plenty of competition in software these days.


    • 8578

      In reply to truerock:

      There was no backward compatibility issues in the Unix world that would give Intel CPUs an "unfair" advantage and yet they are dominant today for Linux-based servers even though Linux can run on many different CPUs. So perhaps there's more to the story than what some CS students understand.   

      • 5629

        In reply to skane2600:

        Intel (much like Microsoft) was stupidly lucky to latch on to the IBM PC market early.  This is why Intel has the market clout it has today.  It takes 100s of billions of dollars to stay viable in the CPU manufacturing business.  Intel uses its enormous size to squash its competition - which wouldn't hurt me... except I'm now in the position of having to buy bloated prices for bloated Intel CPU designs.

        The best thing that could happen to normal people like me would be for ARM to destroy the Intel X86 CPU.


        • 8578

          In reply to truerock:

          I think you missed my point. Which processor was used in the IBM PC wasn't relevant to the Unix world for many years. If RISC CPUs were so significantly superior why aren't they the most popular processors used for Unix/Linux servers?

    • 5234

      In reply to truerock:

      IA64 was better.  The hardware wasn't, but the architecture design was.

      • 5629

        In reply to Waethorn:

        In the 1990s, Intel saw the enormous profit margins of 64-bit CPUs and wanted that business for itself.  It wanted to sell hugely overpriced 64-bit CPUs at enormous profit margins.  Fortunately for you and me AMD squashed Intel's aspirations.

        We should thank AMD everyday for killing off the IA64.

  45. 6080

    Paul I just want to check, because it hasn't been made clear/expressly stated on any of the coverage I've read about this, when you say 'full Windows' are we talking I can take the old disks I have to some game from the turn of the century and install it straight on to one of these machines without the need to wait for a compatibility patch from the developer etc? This will just pick up any old piece of Win32 software and just run it on an ARM system straight away?

  46. 5486

    Intel will probably be seething, but hey-ho.

  47. 6525

    Fantastic news! What about 64-bit Win32/x64 desktop software?

  48. 5394

    Why they can't do a true mobile experience on full Windows makes no sense? The graphics on the user interface of Windows Phone looks much better than the tablet mode on Windows 10. It's another opportunity lost on Windows. 

    There should be a Surface Phone so this development to not have a phone with full PC is just inexplicable. 

    • 4841

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Pretty sure the idea is that Windows 10, regardless of the SKU, will look like Mobile when used in phones and smaller tablets, but will expand to a full desktop experience when the devices are connected to larger screens.

  49. 8834

    There are some new benchmarks coming out this week that show that the current Snapdragon 835 dev boards are already faster than the A10 CPU in the iPhone 7 Plus.  This has me thinking that the "iPad Pro 2" and whatever Windows 10 ARM systems are available at the end of 2017 are going to be pretty competitive from a performance perspective.  Good times ahead.

  50. 940

    Fascinating news. A great way to kill the PC market for 2017. I can imagine many users (myself included) holding on to their old  machines just a little too long in anticipation to these new device. I hope Santa doesn't bring us Windows RT-style coal for Xmas 2017. 

    • 442

      In reply to matsan:

      Seriously doubt the PC will go away in your lifetime, if at all.  There's a reason why vehicles don't all look the same, people need different solutions for different problems.  One platform will not solve all problems.

  51. 293

    If I can run Visual Studio and Chrome I'm set.  All my other apps are essentially UWP.  Very excited to see the thin, light, quite notebooks that can be created.  If I can get a Lenovo Yoga like device in a 1.5 lb device that would be really exciting.

    • 2592

      In reply to jgoraya:

      Question is not if it can run those programs, but how well can it run those programs?

      • 622

        In reply to shameermulji:

        • 399

          In reply to VasiS:

          What I find really interesting about that video is that it's running Enterprise Edition. I'm wondering if this is going to be aimed squarely at Corporate Road Warriors and not the general consumer market.

          • 622

            In reply to maethorechannen:

            why not both? for it to succeed, MS needs volume. Let the enterprise customers drive up the popularity of  Windows 10 really on small form factors. Then we'll likely see increased developer interest in porting apps from Android/iOS to UWP.

            • 399

              In reply to VasiS:

              MS needs to make a profit. Volume on it's own is probably not the best way to achieve that when you're fighting against free. They're better off focusing on people who are willing to pay and the people who are most willing to pay are those who think what they're buying will help them make money.

  52. 996

    Surface Mini to make a return?

  53. 8444

    Good news. I only hope they reprogram Windows a bit more for battery consumption and turn off off every windows background service that is not necessary to maximize battery life. They are already making updates smaller and easier so that part is probably already covered.

    If this works out this is better than a chromebook. I can run chrome and other important Windows things

    • 7290

      In reply to Atoqir:

      "If this works out this is better than a chromebook"

      Chromebooks are popular because of price, ease of maintenance/support and so far their ability to NOT be impacted by malware.  Windows is Windows and even this version will come with all the headaches of Windows.

      A Chrome book can be re-imaged, I think it is called power washed, it a very short time and it is back up.  That is huge for public schools that have tiny support staff's.

      All that said this is still great news.  Let's hope it all pans out.

  54. 6169

    Here is the interesting possibility that they are not talking about........running Android apps on an ARM-based Windows device.......

  55. 5134

    this is what I keep predicting since more than a year: I did call these devices 3-in-1 with the following line of argumentation: it is relatively easy to teach a Win10 (PC) OS to provide cellular phone functionality at least compared to teaching a phone OS all the PC functionality. all the other (myriad) of sensors are already fully supported anyhow.

    that does however still trigger the need for applications (or apps if you will) to support the various different sizes of screen real-estate (and DPI) and user interfaces (touch, pen, keyboard, mouse)

    for me to fully leverage the best of all "usage modes" I would like to see transparent sharing of data in rest, in memory (at least clipboard) and (one can always dream) flexible migration of workload between devices (moving an in flight application between devices) - literally creating a dynamic working cluster of devices (phone, tablet, desktop)

  56. 3148

    In reply to LuxuryTravelled:

    We'd need to call it Surface 5. Otherwise, people would think they are buying a year old Service because Surface Pro 5 will be announced.

  57. 1567

    geez don't got too excited, if it was that easy then it'd be done already...

    by the way can anyone actually find a comparison of the latest intel SoC's compared to ARM SoC's?

  58. 5530

    Microsoft posted a video of Windows 10 on ARM running Photoshop and i'm like WHAT

  59. 5553

    Woo hoo...look at the stock market...DJT ?

  60. 5553

    Woo hoo !!! Good times again.

    It's like the Eighties again.

    Thank you Satya and Donald J Trump The owner of ARM and Sprint is investing at least 50B in America. 

    Build them here Satya.50K jobs at least.?


  61. 8870

    So far the advantage in ARM is the robust ecosystem for SoC's and they do not demonstrate the same performance as Intel offers. It will be interesting what interesting form factors this allows for hardware and the relative performance for apps on the new ARM platform. 

  62. 3272

    But can it run Crysis?

    Seriously though, this is how they do it. This is how they keep you hanging on and it pisses me off. For over a year they give us zero reasons to have any faith and then they announce things like they have today. Very impressive, on paper anyway.

    I will say this, they have absolutely no excuse not to go all in on "phones" now. And yes, that can be a 6" Surface because at this point, with this announcement, a 6" Surface and a 6" MS phone are basically one and the same. They want to create markets, this is how you do it. You make phones, capable of running any program in the world and you hire a marketing team that actually knows how to convey a message.

    This can be a game changer, the issue as always is MS themselves. They always have great concepts, they just excel at making them fail. Would be great if they do this and do it right. This could honestly change the definition of personal computing completely. That is an amazing and exciting development. On a side note, the additional VR/AR info announced is probably the final push I needed to return my Rift and sit tight for another 6 months or so.

    • 442

      In reply to Awhispersecho:

      *face palm*  Your question is superfluous.  Wrong task, wrong platform.  Are you the types that get ticked because a Semi-Truck can't do zero to 60 in under 4 seconds? :)  Oh, and BTW, Crysis is old and could probably be compiled to run on just about any current processor of any make.

      • 3272

        In reply to Narg:

        You completely missed every single word I said. There was not one complaint there. The reference to Crysis was a joke. It has been a running joke people have used for years when new hardware or tech is announced. The rest of my Post was complimentary and filled with general excitement. You really shouldn't be online.

  63. 5234

    Nobody's looking at the bigger picture:

    "Cellular capabilities" means OEM's and carriers WILL NOT give up on "customizing" (read: mangling) the experience.  Not to mention that updates are likely in question here.

  64. 5553

    Start Me Up its the Nineties !!!In reply to WP7Mango:


  65. 3167

    it means global access to content not currently available on phone, such as flash.

  66. 5553

    Cant wait for malware and registry errors.

    And BSODs

    • 6242

      In reply to Joe_Blo:

      I can't even remember the last time I saw a BSOD. But I do remember my Ipad locking up all the time, and carrying an iMac to a Genius bar to fix a crash (this year). This is a move of strategic brilliance. The only thing stopping most of my friends from leaving iPhones is iTunes - having iTunes on a potential MS phone will open up the flood gates.

      • 7290

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        "having iTunes on a potential MS phone will open up the flood gates."

        ??????????????????????????  Why?

        If it is music they want Groove works just fine or IMHO better than iTunes.  The average user is NOT going to buy a Windows Phone because it can now run emulated Win32 apps, especially ones like iTunes.