Microsoft said yesterday that it is paving the way for easier, faster Windows 10 computing on mobile devices with new support from Qualcomm's Snapdragon ARM processors. The partnership, announced at a Windows hardware engineering event in China, could lead to new mobile products running Windows 10 "as early as next year," according to Microsoft executive Terry Myerson.
The Windows 10-Snapdragon union could pose a threat to Intel's position as the market leader in PC chips, a number of observers have noted. At the same time, however, Microsoft yesterday also announced it was collaborating with Intel to bring new security and artificial-intelligence features to PCs, with a focus on gaming and mixed-reality applications.
Together, developments like these could signal that significant shifts in the microprocessor market are on the horizon. They could also enable a second chance for Microsoft to bring the full Windows experience to mobile devices, an effort the company failed to achieve with its previous Window RT mobile operating system.
Targeting Windows Users on the Go
In a blog post about several announcements made yesterday in China, Myerson -- who is executive vice president for Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group -- said the new Snapdragon-powered collaboration with Qualcomm is aimed at meeting "our customers' growing needs to create on the go."
"For the first time ever, our customers will be able to experience the Windows they know with all the apps, peripherals, and enterprise capabilities they require, on a truly mobile, power efficient, always-connected cellular PC," Myerson said. "With Windows 10 on cellular PCs, we will help everyone make the most of the air around them."
By using Qualcomm's ARM chips instead of Intel's X86-based processors, Microsoft hopes to enable a new generation of Windows 10-native mobile devices like tablets and laptops. Traditionally limited to low-power applications, ARM chips are becoming increasingly powerful and bring the added advantages of support for longer battery life and cellular-based, always-on connectivity.
Second Chance for Microsoft
Thanks to "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," Qualcomm executive vice president Cristiano Amon said yesterday in a press announcement.
Myerson noted that the partnership will enable Microsoft's hardware partners to "build a range of new Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 PCs that run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and popular Windows games."
Microsoft had previously targeted the mobile computing market with ARM-based devices running Windows RT, which launched in late 2012. However, that OS failed to gain traction among consumers, and production of Windows RT-based devices like the Surface 2 and Lumia 2520 tablets came to an end in early 2015.
Meanwhile, a new collaboration between Microsoft and Intel called Project Evo will aim to "further push the boundaries of personal computing" with smarter voice-machine communication, new virtual and mixed-reality applications, better gaming and "true always-connected computing," according to an editorial penned by Navin Shenoy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Client Computing Group.
"The work we are doing will help drive innovation in other areas too, from hardware-enhanced single- and multi-factor authentication powered by Windows Hello and Intel Authenticate for enhanced PC security to an even greater focus on connectivity -- starting today with LTE," Shenoy wrote. "This includes offering a wide range of PC form factors and price points that give people choice in mobility, whether they are carrying an ultra-thin and light notebook or a cool 2 in 1."
Posted: 2016-12-27 @ 5:35am PT
@Pedmar007, a 64-bit Operating System doesn't have any direct impact on application performance. The ONLY difference between a 32-bit and 64-bit Operating System is the amount of supported (addressable) memory (RAM). 32-bit x86 systems cannot use more than ~3GB of RAM.
This article isn't talking about 32-bit vs. 64-bit at all. What it is talking about is Microprocessors (chips) based on Intel's "x86/x64" architecture vs. QUALCOMM Snapdragon "ARM" chips.
Microsoft is recompiling Windows so that it can run on ARM chips (yes the recompiled OS will be 64-bit). They already recompiled Windows 8 to run on ARM, with Windows RT, but at that time they didn't have the ability to emulate x86/x64 Intel Architecture to applications which were not written for ARM. Apart from basic recompiled Windows and Office, and NEW specifically designed Apps in the Windows Store, Windows RT could not run many Apps users expected, like PhotoShop, because those Apps had not been recompiled for ARM.
This time around Microsoft, when bringing a recompiled Windows 10 to ARM, is also including an emulation layer so Apps originally compiled for Intel x86/x64 chips can still run.
ARM Architecture is powering nearly all of today's SmartPhones. Apple makes their own ARM chips whole vendors like Samsung are using chips from QUALCOMM.
We live in an era where the dollars spent on SmartPhone research, design, and consumer purchases are far greater than those spent on PCs. In other words, the world is investing more in making ARM Architectures faster than it is on making traditional Intel Architectures faster. Set aside the inherent power advantages of ARM chips, is it foreseeable that in the future ARM chips will outperform the most powerful chips offered by Intel that can fit in laptops, tablets, and SmartPhones. Intel admitted this to the world recently when they dropped development of their low-powered Atom chips.
Without Atom Microsoft has no choice but to abandon Intel in favour of ARM if it has any chance to survive in the mobile era.
So to your point, since Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10 all have 64-bit versions based on AMD64 Architecture (later Intel x64 architecture), all these versions of Windows are capable of addressing more than 3GB of RAM and we are seeing the same trend in the ARM space.
Windows on ARM will immediately bring us two (2) key advantages, aside from performance, which I believe are both more exciting than making your Word Documents print faster:
1. Amazing Battery Life. My ARM based Surface RT and later Surface 2 could easily go more than a day between charges. We're going to see even better with today's modern chips. Remember, never before have we seen such a race to further microprocessor performance, and such enormous revenues piling into an ecosystem.
2. QUALCOMM chips are inherently mobile-ready. These chips have integrated support for mobile networks so ARM powered Windows Devices will support LTE and other network technologies to enable mobile internet access without additional chips or add-on hardware. This will mean lower cost devices with Always-on Internet capabilities.