Microsoft and Qualcomm team up to create a Windows on ARM developer PC

Microsoft has teamed up with Qualcomm to create a Windows on ARM-based dev kit for developers. The miniature PC will be sold at the Microsoft Store this summer, and is designed to be more affordable to encourage developers to create ARM64 apps for Snapdragon-based PCs.

Until now, developers have had to purchase devices like the Surface Pro X to fully test their ARM64 apps on Windows. That’s a costly exercise for developers, particularly when the Surface Pro X retails from $999 and up. While Microsoft and Qualcomm haven’t put a price on this new dev kit, there are promises it will be more affordable than what developers can buy today.

The Surface Pro X was one of only a few options for devs previously.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

“This developer kit provides an affordable alternative to other consumer and commercial devices,” says Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. “With the smaller desktop configuration, this kit gives developers more flexibility than notebook options, and at a lower price point.”

The announcement of the dev kit comes just as Qualcomm reveals its second-generation Snapdragon 7c ARM-powered processor. It’s designed for entry-level Windows PCs and Chromebooks, with a clock speed bump over the original.

This dev kit will also help developers test Microsoft’s new x64 app emulation for Windows on ARM. This went into testing for Windows in December, and allows users to run 64-bit apps that haven’t been compiled for ARM-based devices yet. The emulation layer will bring a whole host of app compatibility to Windows on ARM once it’s fully available to end users.

Microsoft and Qualcomm are promising to reveal more about this dev kit during Build 2021 today, at a session entitled “What’s new for Windows desktop application developers.”

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