Chrome for Windows-Arm laptops officially lands in time for Snapdragon X Elite kit

At last, no more crappy emulation or experimental builds

The first official release of Chrome for Windows-on-Arm laptops is landing this week, in time for this summer's Snapdragon X Elite-powered notebooks running Microsoft's operating system.

Until recently Windows-on-Arm users have either had to run the Google browser on x64 emulation (and take whatever performance hit that entailed), or ditched it for Redmond's Edge or something similar. Now that's changing, with an official native Chrome build for Windows on Arm from Google.

"We've designed Chrome browser to be fast, secure and easy to use across desktops and mobile devices, and we're always looking for ways to bring this experience to more people," gushed Hiroshi Lockheimer, a senior veep at the Chocolate Factory, on Tuesday.

"Our close collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies will help ensure that Chrome users get the best possible experience while browsing the web on current Arm-compatible PCs."

After appearing as an experimental Canary Windows release a couple of months ago, a proper release is now underway, we're told, and Qualcomm enthused about how much better it performs than the previous incarnation, which speaks volumes about how poor the user experience was with emulation.

Qualcomm said testing in the Speedometer 2.1 benchmark sees a "dramatic performance improvement" though it didn't provide any specific numbers to back this up.

The importance of a version of Chrome that can run natively on Arm has much to do with the impending launch of Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops. The primary challenge for Windows on Arm has always been a relative lack of software, because even though Microsoft was able to port its OS to Arm, developers have to follow suit and build, release, and support all of their Windows apps as well for the CPU architecture. Relatively few seemed keen to do so for an operating system with such a low user base.

The Snapdragon X Elite is supposed to change the x64-Apple-led portable personal computing landscape according to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, who said "the PC industry is on the cusp of an inflection point."

It's funny to us that the Snapdragon X Elite is being hyped up with expectations of incredible performance, which would mean Chrome ought to run just fine on emulation and not need a native Windows Arm port. But as it happens, the hardware-OS combo is getting an official desktop Chrome release anyway, some years after Apple's Arm-compatible Macs got a native Chrome app from Google.

Of course, Chrome is just one app, though native support for it is a significant improvement for the Windows-Arm ecosystem. At the very least, nobody buying a Snapdragon X Elite PC two or three months from now will feel inclined to use Edge. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like