Microsoft’s hardware efforts have been somewhat lacking on the mobile front but the success of its Surface lineup has rejuvenated the company’s plans to go ahead and give it another try. Thus, Redmond is collaborating with Qualcomm to finally bring the complete Windows 10 desktop experience to its ARM-based Snapdragon processors.
The details of this partnership were delivered at Windows’ hardware event in Shenzhen, China on December 8. It is certainly a humongous deal because this will be the first time Windows 10 desktop will run on an ARM processor, used generally for mobile purposes. A working prototype, a Snapdragon 820 chipset powered tablet running Windows 10, was also demonstrated at the said event.
Commenting on the partnership, Cristiano Amon, executive VP at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., says,
Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offer one of the world’s most advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life.
With compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices.
Microsoft has tried a hand at smartphones with the development of Windows 10 Mobile and the acquisition of Nokia’s hardware division. But it has failed to gain traction and build a substantial market share. This ARM-focused variant of the operating system had its limitations and didn’t support all of the Win32 apps (and the company had to develop the concept of universal apps).
But, this partnership will enable Microsoft to go a step ahead with the addition of an emulation layer to this version of Windows 10. The rumors of Redmond working on an x86 emulation for ARM processors has been proven true and it will now enable users to run x86/Win32 apps on Qualcomm-powered devices. This, however, doesn’t mean that UWP(Universal Windows Platform) apps will be phased out anytime soon.
Expressing his excitement for next-gen Windows 10 devices, Terry Myerson, executive VP of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, says,
We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with Qualcomm Technologies. We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are.
Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love – touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more – anytime, anywhere.
The first batch of devices running Windows 10 on Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon processors are expected to debut as early as next year. This partnership gives the Redmond giant an opportunity to expand beyond the confines of desktops and tablets to explore uncharted territories and release new devices.