Microsoft is putting in efforts to bring 64-bit app support to Windows 10 on ARM. Some keen-eyed Twitter users spotted a GitHub commit that reads, “Add linker support for x64 code emulation on ARM64.”
This means Microsoft will bring a 64-bit app emulator for the ARM64 platform in the coming future. Windows 10 ARM can already emulate 32-bit (x86) Windows 10 apps, which are known to be working without any issues. To support 32-bit apps, Microsoft currently uses WOW64 – an x86 emulator that is also used in 64-bit Windows 10.
Anyway, the fact that 64-bit apps can use more system resources gives them way more room than their ancient siblings. That’s why some performance-heavy software, like Adobe Premiere Pro, only comes in 64-bit versions, which in turn makes them of no use in current Windows 10 ARM machines.
So having support for these apps is more of a necessity than a luxury if ARM-powered Windows 10 PCs want to compete with the likes of Intel and AMD. Meanwhile, the platform already provides support for native 32-bit and 64-bit ARM apps.
On the other hand, these Windows 10 machines, known as Always-Connected PCs, need to become more powerful to take advantage of such apps. A Snapdragon 8cx beating an Intel Core i5 in real-world benchmarks could be an example that things are moving in the right direction.
However, not many details are known regarding the x64 apps emulator at the moment, although we can expect it to arrive sooner. The GitHub commit was submitted by Windows engineer Kenny Kerr in March this year, which hints that the ball has already started rolling.
Reports about the x64 emulator in the making surfaced last year as well. If all goes well, Microsoft might make it available for Insider testing later this year and release the emulator in the first half of 2020, probably alongside the 21H1 update.