Windows on ARM is about to get lots of apps thanks to new x64 emulation

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Microsoft is officially revealing it’s working on x64 app emulation support for Windows on ARM today. Currently, Windows on ARM devices like the Surface Pro X can only run native 32- and 64-bit ARM apps, alongside 32-bit x86 apps. The vast majority of desktop apps, including Adobe’s Creative Suite, have moved to 64-bit x86 and many have stopped supporting their 32-bit variants.

This has left devices like the Surface Pro X unable to access certain apps, but Microsoft’s new emulation support will mean any and all Windows apps will now work on Windows on ARM. The new x64 emulation support will start rolling out to Windows Insider testers in November and should arrive in a broader operating system update next year.

Microsoft confirmed the support in a blog post today, also revealing that Microsoft Edge will be improved to be faster on ARM devices and use less battery. A native Microsoft Teams client is also coming to Windows on ARM, and Visual Studio Code has been updated and optimized for ARM-based devices.

Microsoft’s ARM announcements come just as the company is rumored to be launching an updated Surface Pro X this fall. The updated ARM-based Surface Pro X will reportedly include Microsoft’s SQ2 processor, which will likely be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G.

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