Microsoft is finally taking Windows on Arm development seriously
Microsoft and Qualcomm first announced Windows on Arm in 2016, and it’s been a slow journey since then. It wasn’t until last year with Windows 11 that it actually for x64 emulation, finally adding the app support you’d need in order to have the same experience between Arm and Intel PCs. Now, Microsoft is announcing another milestone, an Arm-native toolchain for Windows, including an ARM64 version of Visual Studio 2022.
That’s not all, because while the progress on software has been slow, so has the progress on hardware. Microsoft is announcing Project Volterra, a new Snapdragon-powered dev box that helps developers to explore AI scenarios.
An Arm-native developer toolchain
As mentioned in the title, Microsoft is actually starting to take Windows on Arm development seriously. Indeed, when the platform first launched, it was a while before there was a proper ARM64 SDK for developers, other than UWP apps, which are usually compiled for all supported platforms.
But now, you’ll get the full development stack on Arm, meaning not only a native version of Visual Studio 2022, but things like .NET 6, classic .NET Framework, Windows Terminal, VC++, and more. The company says it’s working to support Open JDK, Python, LL VM, Node, and Git. Microsoft says that the first previews will be available in the coming weeks, and that includes Visual Studio 2022.
Project Volterra is a new Snapdragon-powered dev box that Microsoft is saying surprisingly little about. At least right now, there’s no information about its specs, when it’s coming, or how much it will cost.
What Microsoft did say is that it’s made for developers to “explorer many AI scenarios” using the Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK, which was also announced today. Indeed, the plan is to build out support for Neural Processing Units in Windows.
There’s also a new cross-platform development platform for making AI applications called Hyvrid Loop, which will work through the Onnx Runtime and Azure ML. Microsoft pointed out that Project Volterra has a Neural Processing Unit, so it will be great for using the Hybrid Loop pattern.