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  • Windows coming to Qualcomm “mobile” ARM chips

    Posted on December 8th, 2016 at 02:52 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As momentous news goes, this one’s a biggie.

    Qualcomm and Microsoft just announced a joint effort (“Project Evo”) to put Windows 10 on the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Terry Myerson has a similar take.

    Chris Williams at the Register puts it succinctly:

    What the hell is happening? Look out, WinTel, here comes Win, er, WinDragon?

    There’s an excellent overview of the history and placement of the product from Matt Humrick and Brett Howse on AnandTech.

    Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet summarizes:

    Microsoft will bring a natively compiled version of Windows 10 to Qualcomm’s ARM processors next year, plus an x86 emulation layer, designed to run on a new class of Windows 10 mobile PCs.

    Note that there’s no mention of 64-bit programs. Looks like 32-bit (x86) programs will run in an emulation layer, which is always tricky and usually slow. My guess is that only UWP apps will run native. That’s a moving target, given how much UWP is changing from version to version.

    Peter Bright at Ars Technica has some additional details:

    Microsoft also plans to bring the kind of always-on connectivity that’s more familiar to smartphones and desktop PCs. The devices will offer cellular connectivity using a virtual/embedded SIM, with data plans sold directly within the Windows Store. Offering this kind of near-permanent connectivity even in a highly portable device will further blur the lines between a PC and a smartphone, simultaneously offering the portability and power efficiency of a phone, with the application compatibility, peripheral support, and enterprise manageability of a PC.

    Will the effort amount to more than a flash in the pan – or a rehashing of Windows RT? Hard to tell. But it’s certainly going to be interesting. Nobody knows how well it’ll work, how quickly it’ll run (in spite of the demo), and whether Qualcomm can put together enough drivers to make it feasible.

    Look for a barrage of “analysis” this morning, much of which will be regurgitation of the press release.

    UPDATE: The WinHEC keynote speech is up, if you want to see the original introduction.