Microsoft today announced that the Microsoft Store is now accepting app submissions built for the 64-bit ARM (ARM64) architecture. Also, with the release of Visual Studio 2017 version 15.9 this week, developers can now create ARM64 apps using officially supported SDK and tools.
(Don’t confuse the Microsoft Store with Microsoft’s physical retail stores. Microsoft rebranded the Windows Store as the Microsoft Store in October 2017.)
Microsoft announced Windows 10 on ARM in December 2017 with three big feature promises: The screen turns on “instantly,” unlike existing PCs; LTE is built right in; and the battery can last for days. But the unveiling came with a big caveat. These Always Connected PCs, as Microsoft and Qualcomm call them, were not coming anytime soon.
As 2018 rolled on, the early devices had questionable performance. In June, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 850 for Always Connected PCs but that’s not expected to help much, as the chip is not built from the ground up for PCs. Still, Microsoft reminded everyone today why it is hopeful:
This news comes at a great time, as this holiday season, our partners Lenovo and Samsung are offering new Windows 10 on ARM devices featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. These second-generation ARM64 devices provide even more computing power for developers to tap into while continuing to deliver the beyond-all-day battery life customers expect from Windows 10 on ARM. Like the first-generation ARM64 devices, they are also thin, light, fast, and designed with instant-on 4G LTE connectivity in mind, while able to run the wide ecosystem of Windows applications thanks to an x86 emulation layer.
Microsoft wants to help address the performance problems by getting developers to rebuild apps for the platform. Developers can now use Visual Studio 15.9 to recompile UWP and C++ Win32 apps to run natively on Windows 10 on ARM devices.
The timing is no coincidence — app developers often put a lot of work in just ahead of the holidays. All those new device purchases result in plenty of app downloads. If you’re a Windows 10 developer, all the resources you need to get going on ARM are available on Microsoft Docs.