Windows 10 on Arm: You can expect to see better apps soon, says Microsoft

Developers can now recompile Win32 apps to run natively on Windows 10 on Arm devices.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

With new Lenovo and Samsung Windows 10 on Arm laptops out, Microsoft has announced it is now accepting apps on the Microsoft Store for those systems.

Microsoft has unveiled official support for developer tools to create apps 64-bit Arm (Arm64) architecture apps for its Windows on Arm devices.

The Arm64 apps are designed for the Windows 10 on Arm convertibles like the new Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS and Samsung's Galaxy Book2.

These new devices run on the built-for-PC Snapdragon 850, which features clock speeds of up to 2.96GHz and promise to address the slow performance of the first lot of Windows 10 on Arm laptops.

Microsoft hopes the improved performance of the new Windows on Arm devices convinces developers it will be worth recompiling their Win32 apps to run on them.

"These second-generation Arm64 devices provide even more computing power for developers to tap into while continuing to deliver the beyond-all-day battery life customers expect from Windows 10 on Arm," wrote Marc Sweetgall, senior program manager on Microsoft's Windows kernel team.

In May Microsoft announced the preview of Visual Studio with a Windows 10 Arm64 SDK for developers to recompile win32 desktop apps to Arm64, so they can run natively without emulation.

Today Microsoft announced official support in Visual Studio for the Windows 10 Arm64 SDK, which arrived in Visual Studio 15.9.

"Developers can use Visual Studio 15.9 today to recompile apps -- both UWP and C++ Win32 -- to run natively on Windows 10 on ARM devices," said Sweetgall.

"Running natively allows applications to take full advantage of the processing power and capabilities of Windows 10 on Arm devices, resulting in the best possible experience for users," said Sweetgall.

After recompiling the apps, developers can submit them the Microsoft Store.

The Store is accepting Arm64 UWP apps in both C++ and .NET Native. Developers can use the Desktop Bridge to wrap Arm64 binaries into a package that can be submitted to the Store.

Alternatively, developers can distribute dedicated Arm64 versions of Win32 apps on their own website or integrate Arm64 into existing multi-architecture installers.

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