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Windows 10 Mobile x86 Emulation On ARM - Microsoft Still Playing The Long Game

Reports that Microsoft will release a future version of Windows 10 supporting x86 emulation on ARM processors suggests that Microsoft does have a future mobile plan and that plan will be an enhanced vision of devices like the HP Elite x3 able to run a much wider selection of Windows 10 software.

The idea that a mobile first CPU could provide full access to desktop software and performance seems a bit far fetched today, but the Redstone 3 update isn't likely to be released until mid-2018, which allows the hardware a chance to evolve further and deliver the raw performance necessary to make this feasible.

That's an interesting change of focus for Microsoft. The old Wayne Gretzky quote applies here - ' I skate to where the puck is going to be'. Building software to take advantage of hardware that wasn't available yet was something Steve Wozniak made a virtue of in the early days of Apple.

Further signs that Microsoft is the new Apple?

What does this mean for Windows Mobile and Windows licensees? I mentioned in my post about Continuum and small screened devices yesterday, that this wouldn't necessarily be something Apple would want to develop as it seeks to maintain precious hardware sales.

For the big PC OEMs though, none of whom have anything approaching a smartphone business, the opportunity to merge multiple categories into a single device - a profitable one at that - would be most welcome.

The Elite x3 works for enterprise because of HP's Workspace offering. Now imagine a three in one device that didn't require app virtualisation to run in the cloud, but rather delivered the whole  package on the device.

The Elite x3 is focused at the high end of enterprise, which is why the Lap Dock is particularly expensive. A Dell equivalent might well keep similarly high specs for the smartphone, but introduce more consumer focused docking elements.

When your phone really can be your tablet, laptop and PC then Microsoft has a very marketable proposition. One that appeals to its current OEM partners and customers alike.

How likely is this to happen. Well Acer and HP have alredy brought Continuum capable Windows 10 Mobiles to market. Thanks to recent leaks we know that Dell has been considering a similar option based around atrue x86 chip.

Of the biggest PC manufacturers that only leaves Lenovo as a hold out.

The next 18 months may well be a lean time for Windows Mobile fans, but after that all bets are off!