MICROSOFT IS bringing 64-bit support to the ARM version of Windows 10… soon.
The ARM version of Windows 10 was released last year and is designed for so-called "always-on" (nice way of saying 'budget') machines.
Unfortunately, there are a whole crock of compatibility issues, which will come as a surprise to few, but perhaps raises a little eyebrow as to why it was released at all, this soon.
But once 64-bit app compatibility is launched, it will mean a wider range of software will be usable on ARM-powered machines. Whereas Linux had moved to a 64-bit only model (with backwards compatibility) some time ago, there are a lot of key applications for Windows x86 (the posh name for 32-bit) that don't have an x64 version.
However, with 32-bit computing reaching a saturation point in terms of performance, future applications will need 64-bit computing to cope with future advancements.
If you're thinking "but what about Microsoft apps", well, yes, for some reason (ahem), apps from the Microsoft stable, especially those Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that it would dearly love us all to be using, are already working. Draw your own conclusion.
There's no word on 64-bit emulation, and given that the performance of many x86 apps on ARM so far has been lousy, it could be a while before we can confidentially recommend Windows for ARM for everyday use.
As we know from the switch from Windows 10's S Mode as an option rather than an obligation, and again from Windows RT before it, Microsoft keeps offering us "cheaper Windows but tied down" and we keep rejecting it, it's getting kind of boring.
The arrival of proper 64-bit support, first reported by Engadget, could do something to fix those frustrations, but whether or not its enough to save the project from short-to-medium-term obsolescence whilst both sides fix the playing field, is something that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, watch the Build conference, we're expecting more details from there. µ
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