Is there one difference with this wave of Arm computers? All the big PC makers are actually on board


Here at Ars, we’ve been around long enough to chronicle every time Microsoft has tried to run Windows on Arm-based processors, rather than the x86 chips made by Intel and AMD that have been synonymous with Windows for more than three decades. The most significant attempts came in 2012 with Windows RT, which looked like Windows 8 but couldn’t run any Windows x86 applications; And in 2017 when Windows 10 Arm PCs arrived with rudimentary x86 emulation.

The main PC company backing all of these Arm efforts has been Microsoft itself, which launched the original Surface to showcase Windows RT and the first Surface Pro While continuing to sell Intel versions. A couple of PC OEMs have released Windows RT tablets, and most have tried out one or two Arm PCs running Windows 10 through 11. But there’s never been a big unified push that makes it clear that the hardware ecosystem The entire consumer computer company Arm has acquired.

This week’s announcements looked different, and yes, there was a new Surface Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop leading the charge (and the new Surface Pro is the first Surface Pro ever to ship Arm as most people’s default option). But the Surface launch was accompanied by a wave of systems from all the major PC manufacturers, indicating at least some level of elevated enthusiasm for the Snapdragon X series that didn’t exist for older Arm chips.

From Lenovo, you’ve got it Yoga Slim 7x and ThinkPad T14s Gen 6, the company’s main consumer and business laptop variants. Dell offers a version of its flagship device XPS 13 laptopplus a pair of notebooks on each of its spines Inspiron and Latitude families. HP has the consumer Omnibook And business class To Tabuk I took the opportunity to overhaul my entire laptop lineup to boot. Acer It has Swift 14 AI; Asus has it VivoBook S15; Samsung has it Galaxy Book 4 Edge.

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For comparison, a total of four non-Surface devices launched with the first wave of Windows RT, and Samsung devices didn’t even launch in the US. By the spring of 2013, Acer’s CEO was saying that there was “No value“To Windows RT. Qualcomm had total summation Of three launch partners for the first wave of Snapdragon 835 PCs that will launch with Windows 10 in late 2017. Each of these companies Launched a bachelor laptop piece (Anyone who bought these systems would be inundated four years later by the list of supported processors for Windows 11, which… Doesn’t support 835).

By the standards of any other Windows-on-Arm launch, that's a lot of PCs from many companies.
Zoom in / By the standards of any other Windows-on-Arm launch, that’s a lot of PCs from many companies.


It’s possible that all of these companies’ enthusiasm is actually for the “Copilot+ PC” tag, which refers to a Windows PC with a neural processing unit (NPU) fast enough to run call snapshots and other so-called “Next generation experiences“Everyone is trying to take advantage of the AI ​​boom, and at least for the next few months, only Arm-based Snapdragon PCs will be able to get that rating while Intel and AMD play catch-up. The upside of linking the two together is That Windows-on-Arm could rise alongside Copilot+ if it succeeds; the risk is that consumers won’t be interested in either Copilot+ or Snapdragon chips can pull off both initiatives.

But whatever the reason, the big wave of hardware from all PC manufacturers is another thing that makes this Arm Windows look different from its predecessor. The others, as we’ve written elsewhere, have better application compatibility, a wider range of native applications, and chips that claim to be unambiguously better than what Intel and AMD do, though we’ll need to do more testing before we know. Whether the expected improvements in performance and battery life appear in real life.

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In the past, you would have to go out of your way to find and buy a Windows PC that had an Arm chip, and you might notice that it didn’t do some of the same things as a “regular PC.” This wave of Arm announcements is a preview of what the future of Windows might look like — a broad mix of hardware using multiple chipsets and multiple instruction sets from multiple companies, but with it all essentially hidden from most users by a familiar OS and familiar operating systems. Applications.

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