Microsoft partners with Qualcomm, brings ARM to Windows 10

Herman Weaver
December 14, 2016

Continuum has been a cornerstone of the Windows 10 strategy, but because of the prevalence of ARM-based architectures on mobile devices, it has proved impossible to have a fully fluid transition between form factors.

The difference this time around is that Microsoft has found a way to bring the traditional apps for Windows to the new (and modern) architecture of ARM.

Microsoft will again seek to expand the reach of its Windows PC operating system to devices running mobile-oriented ARM processors, through a partnership with Qualcomm announced tonight at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in China.

Thankfully that's now all set to change and now Microsoft is ready to release products with the best of both worlds: "For the first time ever, our customers will be able to experience the Window they know with all the apps, peripherals, and enterprise capabilities they require, on a truly mobile, power efficient, always-connected cellular PC". Qualcomm and Microsoft both believe that the timing couldn't be more ideal, as they've teamed up to allow Windows 10 on mobile devices powered by next-gen Snapdragon processors. But, Windows RT failed in the marketplace because of confusion about how it operated and its lack of support for classic applications; Windows 10 Mobile also failed for lack of applications and being late to market.

Microsoft is bringing the full Windows 10 experience to mobile chipsets
Together, developments like these could signal that significant shifts in the microprocessor market are on the horizon. Qualcomm collaborates with Microsoft to equip Windows 10 computing devices with Snapdragon chipsets.

"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", said Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., in a statement.

In the year, ahead, look for new devices from a variety of hardware OEMs that will deliver Windows 10 on Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices. However, despite high-end ARM chips now being able to offer excellent computing experience when running native platforms, we are yet to see if the same will work out for the x86 emulation.

You can expect to see Windows 10 PCs running on Qualcomm's next generation of chips starting the second half of 2017, the companies said.

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