Learn The Limitations Coming From ARM-based Windows 10 Laptops


Windows on ARM

Microsoft has been thinking about making ARM-based laptops for a while. They are promised to be way cheaper and to provide way longer battery life. Actually, those laptops should be larger-screen smartphones running on Windows 10 instead of Android. But this change of the architecture and an operating system is not as easy to implement as you may imagine. Moreover, we have always known ARM-based laptops will have some serious limitations compared to X86. But no one has ever talked about those limitations. Over the weekend, Microsoft accidentally (or not) published a support document showcasing all the limitations of Windows 10 based on ARM.

Windows on ARM

Though there is not any laptop on sale sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip and running on Microsoft’s Windows 10, a few PCs with these features were revealed later last year. From the WinHEC event in Shenzhen, China, we learned there will be a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices adopting so-called eSIM technology that means users will remain continually connected to the cloud. Though the first models are rumored to come our way from HP, we know Xiaomi and Samsung are working on such notebooks as well.

This simply means the laptops market will be flooded by ARM-based notebooks running on Windows 10. So it’s quite interesting to learn the limitations coming from those products.

  1. Only ARM64 drivers are supported. As many drivers are not currently emulated and not supported on this platform, any app working with its own custom driver would need to be ported to ARM64.
  2. x64 apps are not supported.
  3. Problems with certain games. Any app/game using a version of OpenGL later than 1.1 or that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL doesn’t work.
  4. Apps that customize the Windows experience may not work correctly.
  5. The Windows Hypervisor Platform is not supported on ARM.
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24 Comments

  1. Allanitomwesh
    February 19, 2018

    Lol,
    >x64 apps are not supported
    It became a failure right there.

    • Billy Williams
      February 20, 2018

      How so? You do realize that this isn’t created for the people trying to emulate and run x64 apps in the first place, right? You can keep your current laptop or tablet and be perfectly fine. This product is created for a very specific niche in the market that needs the massive battery life and the always connected ability….not people who want to port and play games etc.

      • Allanitomwesh
        February 21, 2018

        It has nothing to do with games. The moment you want a program that isn’t an app in the windows store (and they are many) this setback will become very very apparent.

        • Billy Williams
          February 22, 2018

          These tablets and laptops can run Windows 10 Pro… have you not seen the demo units?

      • Cyril Dieudonné
        February 22, 2018

        Billy, do you work for Microsoft?

        • Billy Williams
          February 22, 2018

          Why do you ask?

  2. androwin
    February 19, 2018

    Just forget about Windows with its crappy problematic drivers. Companies and devs (who makes popular games and softwares on PC) should start migrating to Android and Samsung, Lenovo, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte etc.. should start selling Android-equipped laptops and PCs in mass.

    I’m sure gamers and business users alike will be happy to see their favourite game/app/software on problem-free operating system like Android (no wifi connectivity issues or driver signature problem at least!).

    • February 20, 2018

      And who told you Android is problem free? Every OS has its problems.

    • Billy Williams
      February 20, 2018

      You have to understand that this product isn’t created to be an everything to everyone. It has a very specific niche. To the college student or business person who needs to be consistently connected this is a great product. We are talking 20+ hours of battery life along with e-sim. This isn’t marketed to gamers..Windows has developers that make core i7 laptops with integrated 1060 (and up) GPU. These ARM based laptops are created for and marketed for a very specific niche. If it doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t buy it….its probably not created for your purpose anyway. But don’t be foolish enough to thing that because a product doesn’t fit YOUR purpose that it doesn’t have ANY purpose to anyone else. Snapdragon 835 running windows is a HUGE step for the company.

      • joe mont
        February 20, 2018

        90% of a devices power usage goes towards the screen, you arent getting 20 hours of battery life. The mainboard also wont be much smaller than an Intel Atom, so you arent getting a much larger battery either.

        I doubt it will even be cheaper, this is a high end snapdragon chip. So you are left with no real benefit. You are left with a device that has a finite lifespan as drivers stop being updated, just like the Windows RT devices Microsoft sold.

        • Billy Williams
          February 22, 2018

          These screens are still probably 1080p screens. We are talking SND 835 being backed with MASSIVE 10,000MaH batteries. They are already boasting claims of 25+ hours screen on time. The review unit I’ve played with was literally sipping on battery. Price wise you’re looking between 600-800 USD. The benefit will be pretty much be limited to its ridiculous signal strength (X16 modem) and battery life. The review units I’ve seen are running Windows 10 Pro. I think the limitations you are seeing aren’t there. Microsoft is Unifying their OS, this platform is being created with a specific user and specific purpose in mind. People in my line of work will enjoy this product. Students will enjoy this product. Everyone else….probably won’t.

  3. Allanitomwesh
    February 19, 2018

    Lol,
    >x64 apps are not supported
    It became a failure right there.

    • Billy Williams
      February 20, 2018

      How so? You do realize that this isn’t created for the people trying to emulate and run x64 apps in the first place, right? You can keep your current laptop or tablet and be perfectly fine. This product is created for a very specific niche in the market that needs the massive battery life and the always connected ability….not people who want to port and play games etc.

    • Allanitomwesh
      February 21, 2018

      It has nothing to do with games. The moment you want a program that isn’t an app in the windows store (and they are many) this setback will become very very apparent.

    • Cyril Dieudonné
      February 22, 2018

      Billy, do you work for Microsoft?

    • Billy Williams
      February 22, 2018

      Why do you ask?

    • Billy Williams
      February 22, 2018

      These tablets and laptops can run Windows 10 Pro… have you not seen the demo units?

    • Cyril Dieudonné
      March 29, 2018

      Because it looks like you work for Microsoft. And on the very corporate side.

    • Billy Williams
      March 29, 2018

      No I just have my foot in the tech industry. I get to work with Android developers and Windows developers. I educate people here simply because they seem to misunderstand what Windows on ARM actually does and what it’s about

  4. androwin
    February 19, 2018

    Just forget about Windows with its crappy problematic drivers. Companies and devs (who makes popular games and softwares on PC) should start migrating to Android and Samsung, Lenovo, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte etc.. should start selling Android-equipped laptops and PCs in mass.

    I’m sure gamers and business users alike will be happy to see their favourite game/app/software on problem-free operating system like Android (no wifi connectivity issues or driver signature problem at least!).

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      February 20, 2018

      And who told you Android is problem free? Every OS has its problems.

    • Billy Williams
      February 20, 2018

      You have to understand that this product isn’t created to be an everything to everyone. It has a very specific niche. To the college student or business person who needs to be consistently connected this is a great product. We are talking 20+ hours of battery life along with e-sim. This isn’t marketed to gamers..Windows has developers that make core i7 laptops with integrated 1060 (and up) GPU. These ARM based laptops are created for and marketed for a very specific niche. If it doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t buy it….its probably not created for your purpose anyway. But don’t be foolish enough to thing that because a product doesn’t fit YOUR purpose that it doesn’t have ANY purpose to anyone else. Snapdragon 835 running windows is a HUGE step for the company.

    • Guest
      February 21, 2018

      90% of a devices power usage goes towards the screen, you arent getting 20 hours of battery life. The mainboard also wont be much smaller than an Intel Atom, so you arent getting a much larger battery either.

      I doubt it will even be cheaper, this is a high end snapdragon chip. So you are left with no real benefit. You are left with a device that has a finite lifespan as drivers stop being updated, just like the Windows RT devices Microsoft sold.

    • Billy Williams
      February 22, 2018

      These screens are still probably 1080p screens. We are talking SND 835 being backed with MASSIVE 10,000MaH batteries. They are already boasting claims of 25+ hours screen on time. The review unit I’ve played with was literally sipping on battery. Price wise you’re looking between 600-800 USD. The benefit will be pretty much be limited to its ridiculous signal strength (X16 modem) and battery life. The review units I’ve seen are running Windows 10 Pro. I think the limitations you are seeing aren’t there. Microsoft is Unifying their OS, this platform is being created with a specific user and specific purpose in mind. People in my line of work will enjoy this product. Students will enjoy this product. Everyone else….probably won’t.