Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on ARM back in 2016, with a view to bringing Windows 10 to ARM-based systems using emulation. While the platform natively supports ARM apps now, including ARM64 versions, only 32-bit Intel (x86) apps are supported in emulation. However, we exclusively reported back in November last year that the Redmond giant is working on 64-bit app emulation for the platform.
Now, GitHub code commits have been spotted by some keen-eyed Twitter users that suggest that the company has made progress with the 64-bit x86 emulation (also known as x64) for the Windows 10 on ARM platform. The commit and was made by Principal software engineer on the Windows team, Kenny Kerr. The commit reads “Add linker support for x64 code emulation on ARM64”.
The lack of x64 emulation has been a major bottleneck for Windows on ARM devices since apps that are available only in 64-bit flavor cannot be run on these devices. Those apps include the likes of Adobe’s Premiere Pro. While some might argue that the current crop of ARM-based PC-centric chipsets may not be suited for such loads, we could see Qualcomm make bigger strides in terms of performance with its future chips that might be more potent for heavier workloads.
According to our sources, Microsoft could be planning to add x64 emulation support to the platform with the Windows 10 21H1 update. If the company’s plans are still on track, it would not be surprising to see the company test out x64 emulation with Insiders sooner rather than later.
The public mentions of emulation for the 64-bit architecture might suggest that the firm is closer than ever to bringing support for such apps. It will be interesting to see how the company progresses with the Windows 10 on ARM platform.