Windows 10 on ARM will launch later this year in new devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors. Joe Belfiore from Microsoft recently confirmed that it won’t come to existing phones. This is not surprise because no one was actually expecting to run full Windows 10 on an existing phone.
In a statement, Joe Belfiore explained that Windows 10 on ARM is about enabling the full Windows 10 experience on a device that offers great battery life thanks to ARM processors. Here is the full statement:
“The Windows 10 on ARM effort is about enabling the PC experience on devices that are built on ARM so that they’re connected all the time and have great battery life. So the experience is a desktop PC experience, it’s not a phone-like experience. For phone-like experiences on ARM, we have Windows 10 Mobile. What Windows 10 on ARM is, is a desktop-like experience so that you get the battery life that ARM processors tend to have.
The other thing that’s interesting about this is that in all cases where you build ARM software, it’s not so easy to just put it on another device. The OS intermingles with what’s called the BSP (board support package), and that’s how the software talks to the SoC. There’s special work that has to be done to get the OS talking to the BSP, talking to the SoC, so it’s not like the PC ecosystem where we write an OS in the same binaries that run on lots of different PCs. With ARM devices with SoC, you have to more closely target it. So that is often the case why it’s more challenging for us to get updates to a wide range of ARM devices. They’re all quite different, which adds delay, and as the number of people using those devices gets smaller, it unfortunately makes less sense for us to invest more time and energy in that.”
To make full Windows 10 work intuitively on a phone, Microsoft would be required to change the user interface of Windows 10 significantly. Obviously, you cannot put a desktop OS on a phone and expect it to work properly.
Currently, Microsoft is working on a couple of things for its mobile business. New hardware and new software is being developed but it will take its time until we will learn more.