ARM-flavored Chrome for Windows is tasty effort for Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm

November 25, 2018 by Nancy Cohen, Phys.org

Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM computers: This is a recipe being improved on from Microsoft and Google. Google Chrome could be coming to Windows 10 on ARM soon with help from Microsoft, said OnMSFT.

"It goes without saying that Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers for the Windows 10. It doesn't have a native version for ARM right now," explained Ubergizmo. Now, Google seems to have begun work on Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM, said Kyle Bradshaw in 9to5Google.

Greg Synek, TechSpot, said that one of ARM's "main blocking issues" was the lack of software support for standard desktop applications. That will change.

"Google and Microsoft are working together on building an ARM-compatible version of Chrome for Windows 10," said Synek. Fudzilla similarly reported that Microsoft and Google engineers appeared to be collaborating to support a version of Chrome running on Windows on ARM.

Synek further reported that two Microsoft developers have been making commits to Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM.

Google is working with Microsoft to bring dual-booting capabilities to its Pixelbook and quite possibly to the newly launched Google Pixel Slate Chrome OS tablet," said Android Headlines.

Microsoft understands a thing or two about interoperability and interdependencies. It's key for developers. Synek said, "Microsoft may be contributing to development so that Electron-based apps can be updated for ARM platforms. Visual Studio Code is one fairly significant tool that needs Chrome's code base to work. Skype, Slack and Node.js are also reliant on Chrome's JavaScript engine. Many apps depend upon Google Chrome.

Synek, for one, attributed this willingness to help out to "reliance on Chrome for other applications." Chrome is a significantly popular desktop app on Windows. All in all, TechSpot observed that our take-home may be that mutual dependencies more or less force common goals.

Synek: "Microsoft and Google has always held a carefully balanced relationship given their competing offerings. Google's consideration of adding Windows 10 capabilities to the Pixelbook and potentially the new Pixel Slate could be a compromise that benefits all involved."

Nonetheless, "the native Chrome support for Windows on ARM may not be available through the Windows Store," wrote Adnan Farooqui in Ubergizmo, that is, unless Microsoft relaxed some restrictions. Neowin's Rich Woods said that "we'll likely see Chrome running natively on ARM CPUs in 2019."

Actually, OnMSFT helped clear what may be a confusing picture of all the players in this initiative. We are really looking at an effort with these players: "Google has been working with Qualcomm to bring its Chrome web browser to Windows 10 on ARM devices for some time now, and it appears Microsoft wants to help." That is where two Microsoft developers were reported to have been contributing to the project.

And this is where Peter Bright of Ars Technica provides a succinct wrap-up on the why and the strategic payoff of it all: "A true ARM version of Chrome for Windows would likely be advantageous for all three companies. For Microsoft and Qualcomm, it makes Windows on ARM a more attractive option for buyers. For Google, it provides a hedge; currently the best browsing experience on ARM Windows is from Microsoft's own Edge."

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