A major roadblock has just hit Windows on Arm

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Windows on Arm hasn’t caught on, despite Microsoft’s efforts over the years. One of the biggest issues facing Arm-based processors in Windows is application support, but there is one major hurdle that has just opened up support for these CPUs.

Google Chrome has been at the center of the conversation around app support for Windows on Arm, but it appears Google is preparing a native Arm version. That build went live late Thursday night on the Nightly channel for Google Chrome, which is a developer channel that showcases cutting-edge features (and lots of bugs) for those who want to know what Google Chrome has to offer.

Microsoft already offers a native version of its Edge browser for Arm-based machines, but those who prefer Google Chrome are forced to run an emulated version with poor performance. It’s a big deal to see a native Arm version of Chrome considering the browser controls around 65% of the market. Compare this with Edge which only controls 5% market share.

This is especially important for Windows on Arm, and is a clear statement that Arm-based Windows PCs will soon become more popular. Qualcomm has launched the Snapdragon X Elite processor for Windows laptops, which will be launched this year. Additionally, reports suggest that Nvidia and AMD are preparing Arm-based chips to be launched next year.

The momentum behind Windows on Arm has been growing since Apple introduced its M series chips. Since abandoning Intel, Apple has used Arm designs for processors in Macs that have demonstrated excellent performance and battery life. The battery life portion is especially important, as we continue to see Windows machines like the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 show great performance, but poor battery life.

Considering how many applications run in the browser, native support for Google Chrome on Arm makes the future of this new processor in Windows devices even brighter. The next big fight is Adobe, which currently only supports native versions of Lightroom and Photoshop on Arm. We expect there will be more native versions of the app as Qualcomm chips are introduced to laptops in the middle of this year.

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