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Definition: Windows 10 on ARM


Windows 10 running on ARM-based CPUs. In 2016, Microsoft announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to run Windows 10 on its Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC), which is the processor in many Android-based smartphones and tablets. ARM CPUs use less power than x86 CPUs. See ARM and x86.

Qualcomm-based tablets and laptops can execute Windows instructions via an emulation layer, allowing apps that run on Windows 10 to run on the devices.

Initially Only 32-bit Apps
Only 32-bit Windows apps could initially run on ARM. If a user's favorite app was only available in a 64-bit version, it would not run on an ARM CPU. In 2020, Microsoft announced support for 64-bit apps in the near future.

Not the First Time
This is not the first time Microsoft put Windows on ARM chips. In 2012, Windows RT tablets running Windows 8 were the first Windows machines to use ARM processors, but RT had a short lifespan (see Windows RT).