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Qualcomm Announces New Windows On Arm Testing Kit

Qualcomm Announces New Windows On Arm Testing Kit

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon Developer Kit as an affordable way for developers who want to test their apps for arm-based Windows devices.

The kit, announced on May 24, is the latest product of a multi-year collaboration from Qualcomm and Microsoft. Microsoft has been working to keep Windows on the arm for years, showcasing Arm-based Windows devices as early as 2017. The company has since released the retail-ready Surface Pro X with moderate success.

Qualcomm did not specify when the kit could be purchased, only that it would hit the Microsoft Store sometime this summer.

Windows on the arm
Microsoft's focus on mobile is evident in its Surface device lineup. With the exception of Surface Studio, all devices in the Microsoft Surface family are designed for mobile productivity. And through the introduction of the Surface Duo, Microsoft wants to expand its product approach to even more form factors.

However, Windows on Arm is a new endeavor for Microsoft, especially for consumer products. Because arm processors are Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) chips, they are exceptionally power-efficient and perfect for low-power mobile devices. This type of device spreads to the areas of education and frontline.

But while arm chips — especially Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips — are prevalent in smartphones, they are a rare sight in Windows laptops and desktops. Despite the progress made on both the software and hardware fronts, Windows on Arm is still a relatively new product and has few kinks to work with.

Most apps for arm-based Windows devices still run on a mock layer, but the arm-native ecosystem is expanding rapidly. A recent example is Adobe Photoshop, which can now run natively on Windows 10 Arm devices until May 2021 — albeit with feature limitations. In addition, Early Windows on Arm software now receives frequent updates to help it run more stable. Zoom also took the opportunity to announce a Snapdragon-optimized version of Zoom that would enable "significantly longer battery life" in a Qualcomm press release.

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