When I reported last week that only Windows 11 would run x64 emulation on ARM processors, I didn’t realize that this space should indeed open up soon. According to Rich Woods at XDA-developers.com, (a) Qualcomm currently has exclusive access to Windows for its SnapDragon chips, and (b) that exclusive arrangement will expire sometime “soon.” When that happens (no firm dates) the ARM Windows 11 ecosystem should explode with activity. At a minimum, it’s likely that ARM chip vendors Samsung and MediaTek will want to get in on this action. With ARM doors wide open, even Apple Mac silicon may be able to run Windows 11 more effectively…
What Does ARM Windows 11 Ecosystem Should Explode Mean?
Competition, in a word. Right now, ARM-based laptops remain pricey when it comes to price-performance comparisons with intel or AMD based hardware. I expect that more vendors entering this market will drive prices down. Hopefully, that means they’ll come down enough to make ARM-based computers an attractive proposition.
I’ve looked at acquiring such a unit for nearly three years now. I saw my first ARM laptop early on at the MVP Summit in 2018. But each time I’ve looked at what an ARM-based system cost, I’ve steered clear because the cost just didn’t work for me. I’m curious but when it comes to spending my own money, curiosity only goes so far. A 14″ Lenovo Flex 5G costs $1,400 at Verizon right now, with 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. For the same money, same vendor, I can get a more powerful CPU, 16 GB RAM and at least 512 GB SSD with Intel i5 or AMD equivalent processor. It’s not a compelling proposition — yet.
What Else Needs to Happen?
Lower prices. Better CPU parity. Stronger Windows support. It will still be a while before ARM can give either intel or AMD a run for Windows mind- and marketshare. But that will be an interesting race to watch. Hopefully, we all wind up winners when it’s been run. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted.