Windows 10 on ARM runs x86 apps: The Surface Phone or a new Surface tablet is in the works

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read
Fix: Alarm sound not working in Windows 10

During Build 2017, Microsoft showed off Windows 10 ARM. For the first time, the company confirmed that your already existing x86 Windows apps will also run even when they’re downloaded straight from the internet.

The trajectory of Windows 10 for ARM

Back in December 2016, Microsoft demoed Windows 10 and Adobe Photoshop running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with the help of an emulator. Now, Microsoft has demoed even more functionality on the Windows 10 for ARM release, but this time a Snapdragon 835 was used.

Could this hint at a future Surface Phone or Surface tablet?

Following Microsoft’s demo, many fans concluded that this was clearly a hint at an upcoming Surface Phone in the best case scenario or a Surface tablet in the worst case scenario. This actually came as a sigh of relief for many Windows 10 Mobile fans who got very disappointed by Microsoft’s recent lack of commitment to its mobile platform.

Windows 10 ARM supports both Store apps and apps from outside the store

The emulator currently supports apps from the Store, but also applications traditionally available online, suggesting that Microsoft would allow both Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro to run on ARM laptops. This is pretty useful as a large number of Chromebook devices are now powered by ARM processors. This software will allow manufacturers to release something that could be seen as a better version of the same device since there’s a wider set of software available for use.

Windows 10 S vs. Windows 10 ARM

Windows 10 ARM will be able to run legacy apps developed for computers with x86 processors but you’ll also be able to download any old Win32 app from the internet, install it, and run it on a computer running Windows 10 ARM. In other words, Windows 10 S runs on devices with ARM or x86 processors but it only supports Windows Store apps.

Windows 10 ARM only runs devices with ARM chips but, supports apps from any source. Developers won’t need to convert their software because Windows 10 ARM includes a built-in emulation layer that allows Win32 apps to run on an ARM-powered system.


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