Software

How 64-bit app support could make ARM-based Windows PCs more useful for business pros

The platform previously only supported 32-bit apps, but a new SDK will open up the possibility for 64-bit apps.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • A new SDK for ARM64 apps, coming at Microsoft Build in May, will allow developers to build 64-bit apps for ARM-based Windows PCs.
  • The support of 64-built apps could make the connected laptops more usable, especially for professionals.

ARM-based Windows PCs like the ASUS NovaGo will soon be getting support for 64-bit apps, thanks to a new SDK that will be unveiled at Microsoft Build in May, according to an Engadget report.

The announcement came from Microsoft's general manager for Windows, Erin Chappie, who revealed the timeline for the SDK to Engadget. Using the SDK, developers can recompile their apps to run in 64-bit for PCs running on the Windows on the Snapdragon platform.

Just because the support is there doesn't mean the performance will come with it, though. As noted in the report, it all depends on whether of not the Snapdragon 835 CPU is up to the task.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

Developers will be able to use the ARM64 SDK on both Windows Store apps and those built out as desktop versions, the report said. However, developers will have to fully recompile their apps to run on the always-connected platform, which can be a pain.

These connected PCs work with the stripped-down Windows 10 S OS and are meant to compete, in some ways, with Google's Chromebook. The support for 64-bit apps could make the ARM-based Windows PCs more appealing to on-the-go professionals, especially if the company they work for is already a Windows shop.

After limited success, it was rumored that Microsoft would scrap Windows 10 S altogether. In March, though, the company revealed that it was shifting its focus to enable an "S Mode" for Windows 10—locking the OS to only run apps from the Microsoft Store—that users could switch in and out of. That change, which initially was going to cost $49, is now free.

Because of their low power needs, the Windows 10 on Snapdragon machines could end up boasting a much stronger battery life than many of their competitors, making them a great tool for road warriors. For those who need more performance, though, HP's new ZBook Studio x360 is boasted as the "world's most powerful" convertible PC, and could have 16 hours of battery life.

Also see

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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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