According to rumors, Microsoft is currently working on an emulator enabling systems with ARM processors to run x86 applications. If these rumors prove to be right, this capability will be released in the update that is codenamed “Redstone 3”, which is expected to arrive in the fall of 2017.
Microsoft has announced the Windows on ARM back in 2012 and there was an instant issue as this operating system was not able to run Windows applications. It is good to know that most Windows applications are compiled for x86 processors.
This is not a big problem for Windows Phones, because these applications need to come with a phone user interface. However, there are problems when you want to use the Continuum feature. The Continuum feature allows you to connect a Widows Mobile phone to a mouse and keyboard and a screen. In other words, the mobile phone can run desktop-style applications.
Continuum is currently limited to running UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications, as these applications come with dual user interfaces which are adapted when they are being used in phone mode or Continuum mode. It would be logical to allow Windows desktop applications to run in Continuum mode, but once again, this raises the x86/ARM incompatibility issue. If x86 programs on ARM chips will be able to be used via an emulator, this problem will be fixed. However, emulation comes at some costs such as performance and power consumption.
The Redstone 3 update will be released in the fall of 2017, after this spring will arrive the Creators Update, and it will come with x86 emulator for ARM processors. Currently, Microsoft is focusing on bringing new features for Redstone 2 and they are tested by Insiders.
Do you think that the “x86 emulator” will fix all the issues related to Windows applications on ARM chips?