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Microsoft and Qualcomm team up to make classic Win32 apps run on ARM devices

At the WinHEC conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced it is teaming up with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to launch a version of Windows 10 operating system that would be compatible with the latter’s Snapdragon line of chips. The move will provide the software giant access to a bigger slice of the mobile computing segment, an area where Microsoft has never had a firm foothold.

The above arrangement will also see the launch of a new line of notebooks and tablets that are always connected and are extremely frugal with their battery consumption. Microsoft said it would be the second half of 2017 for the new Snapdragon-powered devices to reach markets. However, the company didn’t reveal which hardware manufacturers it has tied up with.

Qualcomm chips form the backbone of the huge smartphone and tablet segment thanks to their low battery requirements along with integrated cellular modems. This allows the ARM devices to go days without charging while maintaining seamless internet connectivity at all times. Apart from smartphones and tablets, the above will also see Microsoft gaining entry into the emerging IoT segment, besides posing stiff resistance to Chromebook like products.


The above can also be seen as a direct challenge to Intel’s dominance with Windows 10-powered ARM devices.

Interestingly, Microsoft also announced a similar tie-up with Intel, its traditional partner to launch new devices with Microsoft Echo like capabilities. Dubbed Project Evo, Microsoft aims to build new computers that would draw on the artificial intelligence and Cortana’s voice controlled search feature. This will enable people to ask questions to Cortana from even across the room in a manner that they now do with Amazon’s Echo.

However, whether or not Qualcomm-powered Windows 10 devices eventually make it big will depend on the successful integration of Windows 10 with Snapdragon chips. Microsoft’s earlier effort to do that had flopped miserably, leading to the unceremonious demise of the Windows RT range of tablets.

However, the company revealed it would have better emulation software this time to make the classic Win32 apps run on ARM devices. Those tend to drag down performance though Microsoft insists the better hardware capabilities will ensure there won’t ever be a perceptible drop in performance levels.