Qualcomm, Microsoft drag apps for Win-10-on-Arm into 64-bit world

Visual Studio previews a world without 32-bit emulation

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Qualcomm and Microsoft will finally let developers start building native 64-bit Windows applications for Snapdragon-based PCs.

The 64-bit support is in Visual Studio 15.8 Preview 1, unveiled by Microsoft at its Build conference on Tuesday.

As the two companies explained in their joint announcement, the Qualcomm-powered “Always Connected PC” machines that started shipping earlier this year needed an x86 emulation layer between silicon and software.

That requirement will soon vanish thanks to an Arm64 SDK.

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Microsoft's announcement said native apps will get better performance and capabilities on Arm-based machines.

In particular, Qualcomm said in its version of the release, “ARM64 allows developers to address a larger amount of memory than with 32-bit processors and take full advantage of Snapdragon capabilities.”

Because it's a preview release, Microsoft doesn't offer official support for Arm64 apps, and developers can't yet submit the packages to the Windows Store: developers will have to get the word out to users through their own channels.

There are some other developer inconveniences that will disappear after the preview stage: for example, since 64-bit applications only build in Debug mode at the moment, Microsoft provides instructions for creating side-loading packages for C++ and .NET Universal Windows Platform, and C++ Win32. ®

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