Microsoft Reportedly Prepping x86 Emulator For 2017
Samuel Wan / 1 year ago
After missing the boat on the mobile revolution, Microsoft has persistently tried to get onboard. One of the major challenges is that mobile devices tend to use ARM-based processors. This has meant Microsoft has been unable to leverage their dominance in the x86 Windows space. In order to get around this issue, it looks like Microsoft may be trying the age-old work around of a built-in emulator.
According to various sources close to the project, Redmond is preparing a new Windows update, Redstone 3 which is scheduled for release in late 2017. The patch will ship with an x86 emulator for Windows on ARM named Cobalt. It appears that this will run the x86 application in a hybrid x86/ARM environment, with x86 being emulated only when necessary. This may help cut down on the emulator penalty.
By allowing for x86 applications to run on Windows on ARM, Microsoft will be able to make the OS more competitive. One major target of course, are business users who cannot go without their custom x86 applications. It will be interesting to see just how capable of an emulator Microsoft has and if the ARM processors will have the performance to pull it off. While emulators have helped some, like Apple, make a transition, others like BB10 could not be saved.