MICROSOFT keeps on giving when it comes to the Windows on ARM development environment.
The company has confirmed that its "always connected" PCs running ARM-based Qualcomm processors are about to be augmented by a 64-bit Software Development Kit (SDK) for the new chipsets, allowing devs to build native 64-bit ARM apps right from Visual Studio.
The latest version, Visual Studio 15.8 Preview 1, offers early versions of the tools, which Microsoft describes as "the next step in the evolution of the Always-Connected PC".
Which is a bit like saying "the most advanced branch of Maplin yet", but hey ho.
So in short - no emulators, meaning you'll be able to code and test at the speed you intended, without waiting for the infrastructure to catch up
At the moment, there's no room in the store for ARM64, but it's coming, by Jiminy, and in the meantime, Microsoft is even showing you how to post your finished apps independently while you wait for the Microsoft Store to accept them.
The initial impression of ARM Windows has been a little frosty to say the least. All you have to do is look at the list of limitations to the ARM fork that Microsoft has (possibly necessarily) imposed to see that it's only one killer app failing compatibility away from becoming Windows RT MkII.
At present, UWP (Store) apps run natively on ARM Windows. Older x86 apps only run under emulation which can be showstoppingly slow.
If the apps turn native, it's quite possible that the developers will too, and we'll start to see some of the missing apps from Windows ‘proper' appear at a commensurate performance in Windows 10. Once they've got that nailed, we're suddenly looking at the possibility of that fabled Surface Phone all of a sudden, though how much of a priority that is, given Microsoft's significant investment in an Android suite, remains to be seen. µ
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