Microsoft is prepping for a Windows Arm future
Microsoft is working on a native Arm64 version of Visual Studio 2022 and a miniature Arm PC. A preview version of an Arm native version of Visual Studio 2022 will be available “in the next few weeks” and is expected to ship fully later this year alongside Arm64 .NET support.
While Arm devices like the Surface Pro X have been able to run Visual Studio through x64 emulation, some features haven’t been supported and performance has suffered, too. Developers will certainly be intrigued to hear more about native Arm support for Visual Studio 2022 and VS Code, and Microsoft is creating what it describes as an “Arm-native toolchain”:
- Full Visual Studio 2022 & VS Code
- Visual C++
- Modern .NET 6 and Java
- Classic .NET Framework
- Windows Terminal
- WSL and WSA for running Linux and Android apps
Alongside this Arm native push, Microsoft has once again partnered with Qualcomm to create an Arm-powered developer device. Project Volterra uses a Snapdragon processor and a neural processing unit (NPU) to allow developers to build cloud native AI apps.
The device itself looks like a Mac Mini-like PC, and it has a stackable design so developers can stack multiple Project Volterra PCs on their desks or inside server racks. Microsoft isn’t revealing the exact specs just yet, but Project Volterra does have three USB ports at the rear, alongside a DisplayPort and Ethernet port. There are also two USB-C ports at the side of the device, and the device is manufactured from recycled ocean plastic.
“We want you to build cloud native AI applications,” says Windows and devices chief Panos Panay. “With native Arm64 Visual Studio, .NET support and Project Volterra coming later this year, we are releasing new tools to help you take the first step on this journey.”
Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm last year at its Build developer conference to create an Arm-based dev kit for developers to build native Arm64 apps for Windows. Despite this, we’re still waiting to see more Arm-powered Windows devices and apps. Many developers rely on the Arm64 emulation built into Windows to allow consumers and businesses to run their apps, and without a larger install base of Arm devices, that’s unlikely to change.
Microsoft is also further opening up its Microsoft Store at Build today. The company has removed the wait list for win32 applications, opening up the store to all app developers. We’ve seen a flurry of desktop apps appear on the Microsoft Store alongside the Windows 11 launch, and the removal of the wait list should mean we see even more appear in the coming months.