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Windows 10 machines running on ARM will soon be able to emulate x64 apps

Windows laptops and convertibles running ARM aren’t quite the bulk of the market at this point, but there are plenty of them there, including Microsoft’s updated Surface Pro X, which was just announced today.

One of the reasons not all consumers have taken the plunge is that running traditional x86 apps on these Windows 10 ARM machines places significant limitations. Among the biggest: there is no support for running x86 64-bit applications in emulation, only 32-bit.

Today, Microsoft announced in a long-winded blog post that that limitation will change soon, as 64-bit Windows application emulation will soon enter a public test phase. This solves one of the biggest complaints on the platform: complaints that only grew as popular apps went to just 64-bit as the months went by.

Microsoft also announced several new app-specific developers for ARM’s native apps. Visual Studio Code “has also been updated and optimized for Windows 10 on ARM,” he said.

The announcement noted that Microsoft is “making Microsoft Edge” faster on ARM and also improving its impact on battery life. Additionally, the company announced that a native Microsoft Teams client for Windows on ARM is around the corner.

While Windows on ARM was a relatively slow engine, that didn’t stop competitors from moving forward with ARM plans. Apple is expected to launch the first ARM-based Mac later this year.

macOS has already completely dropped support for 32-bit applications quite recently, and Apple will offer Rosetta 2 to emulate 64-bit macOS apps on ARM Macs (which the company calls “Mac with Apple Silicon”).

However, it remains unknown whether (and how) Mac users will be able to virtualize x86 Windows applications on Apple Silicon Macs. X64 emulation will be introduced to Windows ARM machines for the first time via the Windows Insider Program next month.

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