Microsoft Finally Documents the Limitations of Windows 10 on ARM. Windows on arm tablet

Microsoft Surface Go 4 could come in Intel and ARM flavors, a new Surface Pro 11 inch tablet could also be coming soon

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Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 line of tablets come with a choice of Intel or Qualcomm processors, which means customers have a choice of picking up a model with an x86 chip for the best performance and compatibility with existing apps or an ARM-based chip for longer battery life and optional support for 5G.

Now it looks like Microsoft could bring similar choices to its entry-level Surface Go line of tablets. According to a report from Windows Central, Microsoft plans to offer two versions of the upcoming Surface Go 4: one will have a processor based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chip, while the other will have an Intel processor.

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

Windows Central’s Zac Bowden says his sources tell him that the new model will be about the same size as the previous-gen Surface Go 4, which means we can probably expect it to keep the 10.5 inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and support for accessories including a detachable keyboard and Surface Pen.

Bowden says the Snapdragon-powered model is expected to offer performance that’s on-par with the Surface Go 3, while delivering better battery life. But I suspect that performance will vary depending on what apps you’re using, since apps that are compiled to run natively on ARM tend to perform much better on Windows on ARM than software designed for x86 chips.

There’s no word on which specific chips Microsoft will tap for the Intel-powered model.

According to Bowden, Microsoft also plans to take a page out of Apple’s playbook for its higher-performance Surface Pro tablets by offering a choice of two screen sizes. In addition to the usual 13 inch Surface Pro, we could see a new 11 inch model this year.

That new model will be nearly the same size as the Surface Go, but significantly more powerful thanks to a faster processor. It’s also expected to have a 120 Hz display and other premium features to go with its premium price tag. Pricing for the new tablets hasn’t been revealed yet, but the current-gen Surface Go 3 has a starting price of 400, while the Surface Pro 9 starts at 1000.

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Is that simply the Snapdragon 7c which is now ancient or the newer (still not that new though) 7c gen3? If it’s the latter I’m game, 4xA78 and 4xA55 – similar to an 888, preferably with LPDDR5, would be pretty nice. If it’s the original 7c it will be another sad and terrible surface go iteration

I always wonder how serious MS is with Windows on ARM. Although, they do have to rely on ARM vendors. Well Qualcomm at this point but that supposed exclusivity was supposedly ending, right? Not that other vendors have anything competitive either.

I would say that Microsoft is far ahead of Apple on the software front. I own two Macbooks, and I generally like them. However, the thing I dislike about them the most is the OS. MacOS is alright to use for personal use, but it is very frustrating to use for work 8 hours per day. There’s little things like the fact that clicking back and forth between two applications requires 2 clicks. One click to FOCUS on that window, and a 2nd click to interact with it. You cannot interact with an application that isn’t in FOCUS. Also, many of the common key commands are very un-ergonomic, to the point that they’re not even shortcuts because I avoid using them. Like locking your screen with Control-Command-Q. Finder is also a terrible file explorer. It has dogshit support for Network drives, and it fails to reconnect to them after a few subsequent uses, despite remembering them. I have to remove them and reconnect every time. The most frustrating of all is their awful choice to cripple Bluetooth audio. When you connect a bluetooth audio device that has a microphone (headset, speaker, etc), if any software starts using that microphone, the audio quality gets reduced severely, to the point that you won’t even want to listen to it. It’s bad enough that video calls are practically impossible. The only way to avoid it is to ensure the OS uses the MacBook’s own Mic in all cases. Apple has a support doc about it, and they basically tell you to kick rocks. Another major complaint of mine is the unfortunate lack of any sort of “window tiling” feature. In Windows 10 or 11, you can tile your Windows on the screen in a number of convenient patterns. With MacOS, you’re clicking and dragging them yourself like a chump. The only thing close in MacOS is a silly full-screen mode that can split a max of 2 apps on the screen side by side, at the expense of losing the menu-bar at the top of the screen. My job would be a lot easier in Windows 11. Apple treats its users like morons, and they offer nothing to power-users.

I could really get behind the idea of an ARM powered Surface Go 4. However, I worry about which SOC would fit their budget. Maybe they’ll recycle the SQ2, and drop the Surface Pro X from their lineup? It would be a good move, considering the Pro X is ill suited to compete in its price range. If it’s a Snapdragon 7c, that would be disappointing. The 7c’s performance in Windows 11 seems comparable to various Celeron processors.

It makes sense to finally upgrade the Go 3. Windows 11 is more resource intensive, and that dual core processor the Go 3 has is getting long in the tooth as it is.

There was no real Go 3, Intel rebranded the CPU’s and Microsoft followed suit, it’s the same as the Go 2 (which was already all too similar to the original Go

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Microsoft Finally Documents the Limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

For over a year we’ve been treated to the fantasy that Windows 10 on ARM was the same as Windows 10 on x86. But it’s a bit more nuanced than that.

Granted, we’ve known some of the differences from the beginning, and we’ve vaguely understood that there would be trade-offs for those moving to this new hardware platform. In particular, the performance of x86 apps, which would need to be emulated.

This week, however, Microsoft finally published a more complete list of the limitations of Windows 10 on ARM. And that word—limitations—is interesting. This isn’t how Windows 10 on ARM differs from Windows 10 on x86-based systems. It’s how it’s more limited.

And while we absolutely knew about some of these, the items on this list include.

64-bit apps will not work. Yes, Windows 10 on ARM can run Windows desktop applications. But it can only run 32-bit (x86) desktop applications, not 64-bit (x64) applications. (The documentation doesn’t note this, but support for x64 apps is planned for a future release.)

Certain classes of apps will not run. Utilities that modify the Windows user interface—like shell extensions, input method editors (IMEs), assistive technologies, and Cloud storage apps—will not work in Windows 10 on ARM. They will need to be recompiled for ARM, and my guess is that this will not happen in most cases, especially in the next year.

It cannot use x86 drivers. While Windows 10 on ARM can run x86 Windows applications, it cannot utilize x86 drivers. Instead, it will require native ARM64 drivers instead. This means that hardware support will be much more limited than is the case with mainstream Windows 10 versions. In other words, it will likely work much like Windows 10 S does today.

No Hyper-V. This was a gray area previously—I’ve heard the phrase “it’s just Windows 10, so it will work” several times—but now it’s real: Hyper-V is not supported in Windows 10 on ARM.

Older games and graphics apps may not work. Windows 10 on ARM supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and DirectX 12, but apps/games that target older versions will not work. Apps that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL will also not work.

That’s an interesting list and while it’s not completely damning, my months-long lackluster experiences with Windows 10 S suggest that the first year will be tough for many who do adopt this platform. As is so often the case with platform shifts, you’re best off sticking to new stuff and letting go of legacy, since much of the latter either won’t work, as noted here, or will run slowly.

Like many, I’m very interested in getting my hands on some ARM hardware to see what the experience is really like.

Conversation 119 Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Given my needs out of my secondary devices, I am looking forward to seeing how well the lower cost ARM devices work. I don’t want this for my desktop, but for a tablet whose primary purpose is mobility and productivity, none of the listed limitations are a problem.

In reply to Daekar:

In the beginning I expect the big manufacturers to sell their WOA machines at premium prices. Look for Chinese companies like Chuwi and Teclast to sell truly affordable WOA tablets.

In reply to wshwe:

Unfortunately, it will be a log time before we see such devices. Snapdragon 835 is way too expensive. Ever see a SD 835 phone under 500? Ever see a cheap Chinese Android tablet with anything but MediaTek CPU (other than the Atom-based Windows tablets)?

In reply to Daekar:

I suspect the cost/performance ratio of ARM vs Intel when adding emulation isn’t going to be as significant as some people want to believe. Not sure how we got into this “if only full Windows ran on ARM” mentalilty. Reminds me of the old Slashdot meme: 1) Get Windows to run on ARM. 2) ? 3) Profit!

In reply to skane2600:

Microsoft failed that test already with Windows RT. You know that Step 2 is really just “Sell it”, which obviously is true in that context (Microsoft couldn’t).

In reply to skane2600:

. Not sure how we got into this.

Instant on and lust for longer battery life. Fanless a secondary consideration, though tied to battery life.

In reply to hrlngrv:

“Instant on” sounds like an implementation choice/detail that is processor-independent. Battery life is irrelevant to desktop systems and often not that important for laptops since they’re often used as deskop replacements. Battery life is most important for smartphones and pure tablets that are used almost excuslively in a portable fashion. Microsoft failed in the former case and doesn’t offer any products in the latter case.

In reply to skane2600:

This is why I think this makes sense mostly as a tablet. As an iPad competitor that can run a bunch of Win32 software. I have thought so from day 1. Hard see the superiority in any other scenario

In reply to Roger Ramjet:

As a tablet? With what apps? Desktop apps work with mouse and keyboard, good luck working with touch with those. Win10 is at most mediocre at touch UI and UX

ARM doesn’t have any dedicated virtualization technology in the CPU, right? Without VM extensions in hardware, Hyper-V would be pretty slow and janky. Not surprising that they left it out.

In reply to jimchamplin:

Maybe hardware support would be added real soon now. Wouldn’t you love to be one of the lucky guinea pigs testing the first generation or two?

Some of these limitations (no Hyper-V, no H/W OpenGL, no x64) make me wonder if this edition of Windows is actually running Hyper-V or some such virtualization layer.

In reply to arunphilip:

Hyper-V specifically requires virtualization support in x86 CPUs (e.g., VT-x and AMD-V). Other hypervisors like VirtualBox can run without those, but Hyper-V cannot. Hyper-V could be made to run on ARM I’m sure, and maybe it will eventually, but that’s not exactly a high-priority feature for a class of low-powered mobile devices. If you want to run VMs, a much cheaper, much more powerful x86 system is the way to go.

In reply to MikeCerm:

They’ll never make Hyper-V for ARM. ARM is for client devices. It has no place in server or high-end business workstation scenarios that warrant the RD to port Hyper-V over to a completely new architecture for Microsoft.

In reply to Waethorn:

I agree that what you’re saying is true right now and for the immediate future, but I wouldn’t say never. Lots of companies are trying to push ARM up-market, especially on the server side. The landscape could be very different in ~5 years.

In reply to arunphilip:

To clarify what I was saying… – I suspect that this edition of Windows is already using the hardware virtualization built into ARM (yes, ARM has hardware extensions for virtualization, see which indicates that even the positively ancient A7 had it) to enable x86 compatibility, and that is the reason why it cannot be exposed via Hyper-V. And as MikeCerm stated, introducing a general hypervisor layer like Hyper-V will require significant engineering effort for little return, which is why its not been done (at least not in this initial version).

these all seem expected and something I could deal with but of course I will be the first to be annoyed if something I use regularly does not work Wish there was some sort of an assistant that can look at your current PC setup and see if there are apps, drivers, etc. that could give ARM device trouble.

All of this makes complete sense and is frankly to be expected. I wouldn’t say it’s a limitation at all, except for not being able to run 64-bit apps. But 64-bit computing is kinda new to ARM itself.

So it works the same as an iPad really but with the Windows 10 experience. Running collaborative tools like Adobe Connect, etc will be important to me as I use them on the road a lot. The other concern is that I deal with networking and sometimes needs serial port access so if I can get that to work then I am happy. The other stuff I don’t really care about. I thought I cared about the lack of 64 bit apps until I looked at what I have loaded and use day to day on my old Surface 3 LTE (4gb ram and 128 storage) and its pretty simplistic. Though I used a Windows RT unit and did not care. The only reason I did not stick with it was that Asus loaded up an update that made the touchscreen stop working, on a touch screen based unit.

Its a gen1 device so I assume it will only get better. Who am I kidding? This is MS, it can get much worse.

Now that I know the limitations I won’e be buying a WOA laptop. Consumers will return WOA machines because they can’t install printer drivers or iTunes. Any laptop I buy has to be able to work with my combination printer/scanner. It has to be able to run 64-bit software too. This is looking more and more like Windows 10 S all over again.

In reply to wshwe:

It will run 64-bit AArch64 code, but will not translate AMD64 code, only x86.

In reply to wshwe:

A WOA device will be my brunch spot-media-solitaire-shopping-office-email-couch box. Microsoft and its partners need targeted peripheral support: The common stuff. Typical consumers aren’t running 64-bit apps, but they do have weird and poorly supported peripherals.

Heavy lifting will be handled by a native x86 box, the one that stays home or at the office and will run anything native or virtualized.

It’s not quite as bad as Windows 8 compiled for ARM (i.e. Surface non-Pro 1, 2, and 3) but is it significantly better?

It seemed like a questionable proposition even if it did everything that Windows 10 on x86 did. With these limitations, I think it lands more firmly in the “interesting science experiment” category that Microsoft is normally satisfied with in areas where Apple wins out because they will not accept less than a viable end-user product.

In reply to mattbg:

Most of these are only temporary limitations having to do with the fact that a lot of applications will run using x86 emulation. In the case of Cloud storage apps, they often hook into the shell and filesystem, and emulated code isn’t run in a way that can interact with the system in the required ways to make that work.

Remember: Software that has been built for or recompiled for the AArch64 ISA will run identically to the x86/AMD64 version running on the matching hardware.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that x64 apps doesn’t work on an x86 WoW (Windows on Windows) thunking “layer”. Neither should the lack of support for Hyper-V. To jimchamplin’s point. The hardware support necessary to make virtualization work just isn’t in the snapdragons. It seems that the initial target for the potential users if these laptops is completely forgotten by Paul et al.

In reply to bdollerup:

Didn’t think think that Snapdragons did. Thanks for the confirmation! Nobody wants to use primitive software VMs.

I’m not even sure that Microsoft remembers why they went down this road in the first place. IMO, the likely best case scenario is a zero-sum result – a few people will buy devices with ARM-emulated Windows who otherwise would be buying Intel-based Windows while the number of Windows licenses sold will not change significantly.

In reply to skane2600: I’m not even sure that Microsoft remembers why they went down this road in the first place.

You just bottomlined the entire post-7, Metro era of Fisher-Price tiled, mobile identity crisis suck.

It sounds like Windows 10 ARM would be good for point-of-sale, kiosk, in-store tablet, etc. devices where the flexibility of full Windows development options is very useful, but the full desktop experience is not.

In other words, here’s a new low-power platform for the next generation of Windows 10 IoT Core.

In reply to warren:

It might be relevant to tablets but point-of-sale and kiosk computers are usually not battery operated and you really wouldn’t want them to be. So low-power isn’t really all that useful in those scenarios.

In reply to skane2600:

What are you talking about?? The bulk of digital-signage systems are built around low-power systems. The vast majority are built on laptop chips or low-performance chips so that heat isn’t a problem (it’s a big issue for signage systems). You never see integrated digital signage systems using bulky desktop chips – those systems are reserved for massive-scale signage only. Some of them even just stream through a remote client, like a Chromebit.

In reply to Waethorn:

When did the subject change to digital-signage systems? I said nothing about them.

In reply to Waethorn:

Digital signage and POS systems of two completely different things.

I work in retail. If you have to comply with PCI (US) at Merchant Level 1, 2 or 3 then you are not using mobile devices for POS. They are not compliant at this time.

The iDevices and Android based POS devices are small business self governing Merchant Level 4 PCI stuff.

POS retail is still a Windows world. Windows 7 embedded is probably the most popular right now. If you need stuff like scales/scanners and what not (grocery industry) then you need a PC with lots of powered USB ports.

Sadly there is no Windows 10 embedded.

Out side of the POS terminals EVERYTHING is Linux. From your Verifone/Vantif etc card readers to any and all handheld devices for scanning inventory etc it is all Linux/Android. 8 years ago Windows CE owned that world but now it is lost to the Linux/Android world. iOS has no real play here either.

This new version of Windows, on ARM, will never be a player in the POS/Retail world.

In reply to warren:

Re in-store tablets, that’s a market segment where Android tablets have done fairly well. For years. Newcomer Windows ARM tablets may be a rather hard sell. Also, would ARM tablets get as good battery life running x86 software in emulation as it would running software built specifically for ARM?

In reply to hrlngrv:

I agree, but the simplistic nature of the apps required could probably be written for UWP without any disadvantage. Of course that would make x86 emulation irrelevant and still doesn’t address why customers should switch if their Android solution is working for them.

In reply to warren:

You mean like all of the I-devices that are alreay Point of Sale and well established…

Not surprising. These aren’t intended for people needing workstations, development, giant spreadsheets, gonzo Project files, etc. 64bit is really overrated for what most people do. Even the Office most people install is 32bit. Who thought they were going to run VMs on an ARM device? Maybe Gameboy emulation, but if you were planning on dragging out Small Business Server and running it in a VM on this, you were delusional.

Only seeming issue might be some of the drivers. If you have some oddball hardware that requires you to load drivers that aren’t already supported, that’s an issue. I expect the built in mainstream support is pretty broad.

No, this is not Win10S again. Most everything that ‘normal’ people, for whom this is designed, is available in 32bit. You aren’t limited to the store.

For many, Window on ARM just isn’t worth it because late this year Intel’s 10nm chips will be out, which also support LPDDR4 for the first time, battery life should be significantly better than current 14nm/LPDDR3 devices.

In the long run … probably not an issue because of progressive web apps.

Porting a “modern” application written in portable, high-level code (that is, C or C) from x86 to ARM is sometimes as simple as a recompile. It’s a much, much smaller barrier than, say, porting from x86 win32 to x86 UWP. So it’s possible that native versions of these unsupported apps show up relatively quickly.

And if an app is recent enough to actually support 64-bit, going from x86 to ARM will be a non-issue.

I’ll admit this may not be so simple for drivers. I know relatively little about how tightly coupled Windows drivers are to the underlying architecture, how much is written in assembly, etc.

Also, DirectX9 goes back to 2002 and Windows 98. That is a hugeeee range of support, far more than I would have expected.

A couple questions:

Do we know if 32-bit native ARM code (AArch32) will run? You say drivers must be 64-bit (“ARM64”), but is that true for user-land apps too?

Will the legacy.NET frameworks be available? If so, will they be native or emulated? And will the JIT support compilation to native code? What about.NET core?

Last, to anyone surprised that Hyper-V is not available, I agree with others that you were delusional if you thought it would be. Hint: if you even know what Hyper-V is, you are not the target market for this. At least not initially.

In reply to evancox10:

I would guess yes, as the same requirement exists oh AMD64 builds of Windows. Mixed 32/64 bit applications but 64-bit only drivers.

So as many of have stated here many times before, this is just a Windows RT rehash.

No obvious Use Case.

In reply to Jules_Wombat:

Windows RT couldn’t install or run 32-bit WinTel software. Windows for ARM seems to be able to. What remains undetermined are the amount of such software it’ll handle and how well or poorly it runs.

In reply to Jules_Wombat:

No. It’s not. It’s Windows 10 compiled to run on AArch64 with an additional binary translation layer for x86 Win32 code. Probably the same tech originally designed for Windows on Itanium, or closely related.

In reply to jimchamplin:

Yeah I know its an emulation but the Use case for this is what ?

A subset emulation of Win 32 (Note my Nokia 2520 runs subset of Full Office, and Windows Explorer) is still a compromise that most consumers and business will discover and complain about, and hence failure, just like Windows RT. Hence my Point, its Windows RT all over again. Without sufficient Marketing, Branding, Pricing or an Obvious Use Case its a pointless proposition.

In reply to Jules_Wombat:

I agree there is no use case. Why have we not seen benchmarks of emulated software yet? I have read in forums that those who have seen them say they are NOT good. Maybe that is not true?

The best case scenario for these devices is NATIVE Windows 10 ARM apps. They will run better and then the ONLY real advantage of these devices “battery life” will sell it.

How well has Microsoft been able to get developers to natively support their Windows on ARM OS’es…….not well at all. How will this time be different? Will PWA’s save the day. PWA’s allow users to ditch Windows all together.

Without native apps you will have limited support for some Win32 apps running via emulation which is NEVER a great experience.


In reply to Jules_Wombat:

It’s going to be more than sufficient for a large enough cross-section of software that it will be pretty simple for normies to continue to know nothing about how their computer works.

Hardware drivers work just above the OS kernel, so not surprising they’d need to be built specifically for ARM processors. OTOH, not like Windows 10 S. Windows 10 S won’t install them, but they’d work if they could be installed. Windows for ARM may or may not be able to install them, but they couldn’t work if installed.

Lack of Hyper-V also not surprising. Intel/AMD have virtualization facilities built into their processors. Does even the latest generation of ARM processors? If not, but it’ll be coming, who’d want to be guinea pigs with the first generation or two? This may mean reliable virtualization is quite a few years away.

Remains to be seen just how well ARM-based machines handle all the old 32-bit software still being used on many home PCs.

I’m having the hardest time trying to figure out why Windows for ARM can’t handle Cloud storage apps. Are there no Cloud storage apps for ARM-based phones? Or do most Cloud storage Win32 apps include driver-like layers?

In reply to hrlngrv:

It’s due to the fact that they all use hooks into Explorer and possibly the filesystem for syncing. Emulated code wouldn’t be able to interact with the native code, so no joy.

But if those applications are recompiled for AArch64, then they’ll work just fine.

In reply to jimchamplin:

Thank you for posting this repeatedly. (Like seriously, thank you.) I’m not sure why that was the one piece of the article that everyone freaked out about, but it clearly struck a nerve.

So the hype about ARM being the future is a work in progress to be charitable. It’s a no go until 64 bit compatibility. The other stuff matters little. Another reminder that Microsoft doesn’t know what it’s doing with new platforms. Just over promise and never deliver.

In reply to glenn8878:is there any data on the split between 32b v 64b office instantiation? i am trying to understand how many people would care

In reply to Sanantha:

People would care if any program doesn’t work. It’s not just about Office.

I think too many people are assuming that ARM based Windows PC will be cheaper than Intel based PCs.

There is nothing in the market that can sustain these assumptions for now.

The expected benefit of these systems compared to Intel is clear to me: battery life and always on while better performance on “standard” productivity tasks for the price.

The tradeoff seams to be a more controlled environment, aka Windows 10 S. Not lower price.

In reply to nbplopes:

Given that most “standard” productivity tasks are performed using X86 programs, it doesn’t sound like ARM will have the advantage there.

In reply to skane2600:

It’s funny when you get voted down when you make a statement that is absolutely true.

In reply to skane2600:

Truth hurts, and clicks are cheap. Welcome to the world of anonymous critics.

In reply to skane2600:

It depends. Standard productivity software from a speed perspective, the cheapest iPad Pro it already out performs 1300 euros wintel laptops and macs. From word processing, email and task management to photo editing. If not for the religious lack of mouse support …

the challenge of MS is that it’s surrounded by a community of users and developers that believe in x86 for ever as if there can’t be any better options in the context of mobile computing. Inspite of all evidences that … it can. Denying simple facts such as in the corporate environment most custom apps are web enabled and web enabled productivity apps are wide spread.

MS not embracing, with all heart and fully the PWA in Windows will be another major blunder. As fast as they move away from UWP the fastest they will be back in mobile. It’s. It cannot be just about technical abilities as MS lately as put it.

Its all intertwined …

Meanwhile the world around them evolves with no such emotional or cultural attachments.

In reply to nbplopes:

I can’t comment on the performance or price difference between an iPad Pro and an unamed Windows or Mac machine.

There’s a long history in tech of maintaining the status quo for compatibility reasons even when better alternatives exist or could be developed (although there’s little evidence that UWP would fit that “better alternative” scenario.)

Look at the QWERTY keyboard. Look at the way the web protocols, HTML, CSS, the DOM and JavaScript are duct-taped with frameworks and libraries rather than simply recognozing that the web as we know it wasn’t designed to support web apps or to maintain security.

In reply to skane2600:

I can comment on the first because I’ve done some simple non scientific tests. We cannot argue that the iPad Pro 12.9 is not a highly responsive device. On the, other hand I’ve compared for instance searching an Excel spreedsheet with 100.000 records on the iPad Pro against an Surface Pro 4 Core i7 and a MacBook Pro Core i7. Surprisingly it was faster. In terms of Photo editing I used an app called Affinity Pro comparable to Photoshop on the PC and Mac, and it was faster, more so even than an Surface Pro 4 when it started throttling … and it is much cheaper. But it lacks mouse support and this is a big issue … and unfortunately Apple is using it on mobile has a hammer for every nail …

On the second observation … I think people change when the advantages clearly outweigh the cost of change. The problem is that the alternatives like the one above and other such as Chromebooks have not done that for general computing due to many reasons, one of them pointed above, but there are others not to do with apps necessarily.

On the third observation. During my carrear I’ve learned to program in many languages, so many that some I have mostly forgotten. But instead of going down the path of comparing languages per languages look at the evidence in practice. Look at the Internet, look at how many application internet driven technologies are powering, using HTML, javascript, XML, Json and the amount of backend languages that can be used. Applications working 24×7, bug free or at least fault tolerant. I’m from the time were Windows applications were built with as you may put it, better languages and architectures such as CORBA, but would crash not so infrequently ….

I’m from the time where to put a dialog box on the canvas would require a lot of code, so much so that IDE were built with visual UI editors that would generate the code … today, a simple HTML line and bang its there in the canvas. Hooking code to UI events its a trivial process. 10 years ago, just power web a simple web server one needed IIS or Apache on a dev machine. Today with simple code one has a server up and running with full debug capabilities using node. Heck, developers can program their server quickly. Developers can simply use the tool that better fit the problem domain.

So yes, due to the above and much, I really hope MS charges away with PWAs, becoming a leader in the field, building on top of what it is built, rather than reinventing the wheel in their labs with minimal gains. It simply does not have the time of the past to do it.

Windows ARM, sure. The challenge will be in proving that whatever the advantages it has outweighs the cost. Notice, if is to replicate Wintel on ARM, than the challenge is already lost. Also if the argument is simply ARM based PC are cheaper than Wintel than the argument is also already lost because it means … there is not much to be made. It cannot be that IMHO.

It needs something else that actually takes advantage of ARM in ways inequivocal. It may be that thing of Surface Folio or whatever it is called … don’t know. Because in the end of the day, users don’t care less if its Windows ARM or Wintel. What they care is what they can do with it. Yes, users can adopt the tech language to explain what they want based on what they heard. but there is a deeper meaning to their choices, in that the tech language is mostly a smoke screen and irrelevant. This is exposed in the end. It may take long but when it happens it happens very very quickly … either its adopted on not. Unfortunately lately it has been mostly the second with Windows, and in the case where it is not, people are mostly being dragged over.

One can argue that such is down to PC being really mature and a well built personal computing paradigm. Sure, yet there is a reason why the tech industry is pushing forward with different approaches and I feel it’s not due to stubbornness or just about new


Sounds like Windows 10 S, which is a flop.

Microsoft is working on ARM-based Surface Go 4 and 11-inch Surface Pro

According to reports, Microsoft is preparing to launch a new version of the Surface Go tablet this year. This will be the first time the tablet will be built on ARM processors. The new device, codenamed Tanta, will come with a Snapdragon 7c chip as its standard processor. The shift to ARM technology is expected to result in a longer battery life, while maintaining similar performance levels.

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

The design of Surface Go 4 may change slightly from previous generations. But the overall dimensions will be the same as before.

It is also possible that Surface Go 4 with 5G support will appear on sale. But this model has not yet been confirmed. Versions with Intel processors will probably still be available for those customers who wish to stay on the x86 platform.

In addition, Microsoft is working on an 11-inch version of the Surface Pro, codenamed Luxor. Compared to the budget Surface Go line, these models will deliver much faster performance and come with a 120Hz display. Simply put, the company wants to release the Surface Pro in 11-inch and 13-inch versions, thus somewhat copying Apple’s approach with the iPad Pro.

Microsoft is also currently working on enhancing the touch screen experience for Windows devices. This includes both Windows 11 and the upcoming version of Windows set to launch in 2024. Specifically, the company plans to make File Explorer more user-friendly for touch screens, enhance the lock screen and login features, and update the desktop interface.

While the release dates for the upcoming Surface Go and Surface Pro have not been officially announced, it is certain that they will not be available until at least fall of 2023. Microsoft may need to wait for Qualcomm to start shipping their new processors based on Nuvia developments before they can release the new generation of Surface Pro.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram. and YouTube. View all posts by Sergey Tkachenko

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You can do a lot on ARM, but probably not everything you need

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Napier Lopez

Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He’s interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in (show all) Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He’s interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on

I put off writing my Surface Pro X review for a while. I’ve been using a Surface Book since the original, and I’ve always considered myself a power user, so the idea of adopting an ARM-powered PC that couldn’t run all of the apps I might need seemed unconscionable. So I’d play with the Pro X — the marginally updated SQ2 version — every once in a while, but my heart was never fully in it.

And then Apple released its M1-powered MacBooks. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, it was Apple’s success with its own transition to ARM-powered devices that convinced me to really try out the Surface Pro X as my primary PC for a while.

And you know what? It’s actually been pretty neat. After using the Surface Pro X full-time for a couple of months, here are some of my favorite things about it — and some of the growing pains of using Windows 10 on ARM.

The best-designed Surface, especially as a tablet

Unlike the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Pro X finally refreshed the design of Microsoft’s OG form factor. The X model slims the bezels, makes the chassis thinner, and is lighter than comparably sized predecessors. It fits a larger screen into a footprint similar to the Pro 7, while allowing enough purchase to avoid most accidental touches in tablet mode.

The keyboard and trackpad are, as always, fantastic. Seriously; I prefer the Surface Pro X’s keyboard and trackpad over that in many normal laptops. But the best change is the ability to store the new Surface Slim Pen right in the Type Cover. It’s a small, why-didn’t-they-think-of-that-before change that makes a major difference in practice. No more do I have to spend at least a few minutes looking for the pen every other day.

The pen itself is pretty nice to use too, with a soft-touch finish and great pressure and tilt sensitivity. It’s not as fancy-looking as the standard Surface Pen, which is available in multiple colors, but frankly, I think it feels a little better. The conical pen nib also feels more natural when tilting the pen for shading or bold strokes, but not constantly losing the pen is definitely the best part.

Everything else feels polished too. The screen is excellent, with vibrant, accurate colors and good contrast. The speakers are the best of any of Microsoft’s tablets (including the Surface Book 3, which has speakers in the tablet portion). LTE support is available, the webcam is among the best on a laptop or tablet, and the removable SSD is a nice touch should I ever want to opt for a bigger drive. I do wish there were a headphone jack, but at least Microsoft includes two USB-C ports (compared to, say, the iPad Pro’s single one).

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

It’s also worth noting the Surface Connect port is still compatible with the Surface Dock 2, which adds 4x USB-C and 2x USB-A ports, Ethernet, and a headphone jack. I dock the Pro X every time I’m actually working at my desk, seamlessly connecting my mouse, keyboard, second monitor, and speakers, while charging at full speed.

Despite being a full-fledged PC (well, mostly), the Surface Pro X is super thin and light. That, combined with some of the benefits of the ARM processor, means it’s the best iteration of the Surface as an actual tablet. At 0.77 kg (1.7lb) it’s only a smidge heavier than the similarly sized 12.9-inch iPad Pro (0.64 kg (1.41 lb).

Consistent battery life

The Surface Pro X doesn’t have the best claimed battery life of the Surface family, nor does it benchmark the best. But to my surprise, I’ve been finding that it might be the most reliable in practice.

Here’s what I mean: most of us know that from years of using Intel-based laptops that battery longevity varies dramatically depending on what you’re doing. So what surprised me about the Surface Pro X was how consistent it is.

For example, the Surface Pro X does not even come close to the battery life of ‘optimal’ usage on the Surface Book 3. And yet time and time again, I’ve found it can more reliably get me through my day using my typical settings.

While many Intel-based laptops seem to swing from over 10 hours to under 3 hours, depending on what I’m doing, the Surface Pro X reliably hovers around the 6-8 hour mark for my usage — almost always enough to get me through a workday. In practice, I might actually find myself reaching for the charger more often on the Surface Book 3 than the Surface Pro X, even when running similar workloads.

Buttery-smooth, consistent performance (when you stick to ARM apps)

When you stick to apps that can run on ARM, the Surface Pro X generally flies. Again, there are myriad benchmarks out there for those interested in the raw numbers, but they just don’t tell the full picture. My anecdotal experience is that the Surface Pro X, in day to day use, often operates more smoothly than its Intel counterparts when running native apps.

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

The inking experience in OneNote, for example, feels even more natural than it does on other Surface devices, while the Edge browser is less likely to freeze up during heavy use. On the whole, the Pro X seems less prone to throttling, dropping frames during video playback, stuttering during animations, and lagging after a touch. It particularly seems to outperform similarly priced Intel-based systems — including the Surface Pro 7 — when used away from a charger.

It’s a subtle difference, but one that is increasingly apparent as I switch between the Pro X and other devices.

But how long can you survive only using ARM-friendly apps?

Unsurprisingly, this smooth performance only really applies when you stick to software that is natively compatible with the ARM architecture. For many, if not most people, that’s going to mean switching to software you’re not used to — at least for now.

Chrome, for example, doesn’t yet have a native ARM app for Windows, even though, according to Qualcomm, “the code is done.” Luckily, I’ve been using Edge as my primary browser since it switched to the Chromium engine, and the browsers are extremely similar — even running most of the same extensions.

The fact that Edge performs so well is essential. In 2021, it just so happens that many people can get their work done almost completely in the browser (that is, of course, why Chrome OS has been so popular in the first place). And sticking to a browser is what you’ll likely be doing if you’re among the target audience for the Surface Pro X.

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

In fact, you might be better off sticking to browsers when possible. Slack’s desktop app, for example, runs quite sluggishly on the Surface Pro X. I found I was much better off simply going to in Edge and then installing the website as an app; this version runs much more smoothly.

But here’s the thing: I have other computers. The Surface Pro X’s limitations are only really limitations if this is the only PC you regularly use. Of course, most people don’t have the luxury of multiple PCs, but I do know plenty of people who buy Surfaces and iPads as secondary devices as well.

So while the Surface Pro 7 may be a better option for someone looking for this form factor without the risk of losing an app they regularly use, as a secondary PC, I’d much more likely recommend the Pro X.

The future is looking brighter for ARM

The good news is that ARM apps are likely only going to get better from here. While x64 and x86 aren’t going away anytime soon, the arrival of Apple’s M1 processor gives cross-platform developers more incentive to create desktop-class ARM-compatible software. Even Qualcomm executives appeared to be happy about the M1 MacBooks; after all, they mean people will be more comfortable buying ARM-based computers, potentially allowing it to poach some market share from Intel and AMD.

Indeed, one of my main reasons for initially holding out on the Surface Pro X was the lack of Photoshop and Lightroom — essential tools for me. But since the original model’s launch, Adobe has released ARM-compatible betas of each, and I only expect more apps to follow.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is currently testing x64 emulation for ARM with Windows Insiders, meaning you can at least run 64-bit apps when you need them.

To make ARM truly successful on Windows, we’re going to have to see a lot more app compatibility, but for the first time, it actually feels like there’s some hope.

Okay, but should anyone actually buy the Surface Pro X?

The lack of full compatibility with the Windows ecosystem and conditional performance makes also makes the Surface Pro X a rather conditional recommendation.

I’ve seriously enjoyed using the Surface Pro X, but I’d only recommend it if two or more of the following applies to you:

  • You’d use the Pro X as a secondary computer
  • You can do most of your work effectively from a browser
  • You are really into the whole stylus thing
  • You don’t think it’s crazy to spend 800-1,600 — plus 254 for a keyboard and stylus — for what is still mostly a very nice browser experience with some extras

That last point particularly stings. But every time I think “no one should spend this much money on a device that’s best suited to browsing,” I remember Chromebooks exist and are somehow successful — even the relatively premium ones. And the Surface Pro X can do more than your typical Chromebook by the simple fact it can many legacy Windows apps, even if they might run sluggishly.

microsoft, finally, documents, limitations, windows, tablet

I still wish Microsoft would price the Pro X lower — the ARM chip seems like it would be great on a new Surface Go — while Windows 10 on ARM really gets the ball rolling. But at the same time, the when running ARM-friendly apps, the Surface Pro X feels like the best Surface, especially when it comes to fulfilling that original promise of seamless tablet-laptop duality. For day to day work, it’s the device I keep gravitating to, even if I occasionally need to run software on another PC.

If you can live with the compromises and/or have another computer to handle the missing apps, Surface Pro X is the rare computer that’s likely to get better with time; it’s already become significantly more usable since I began my testing period. Whether it’s worth spending your money on that evolving potential, is up for you to decide.

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