Chrome may soon embrace Snapdragon laptops with native ARM version

One downside to picking up a Windows 10 on ARM laptop built on Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform is that traditional desktop apps require emulation, which brings an inevitable performance hit. But Chrome, the most popular browser on the market, could be close to circumventing that limitation.

Speaking in an interview with Android Authority at Arm TechCon, Qualcomm's senior director of product management, Miguel Nunes, confirmed that a native ARM version of the desktop browser is in the works. Says Nunes:

We're still working with the different OEMs and designs. I expect you'll see it probably around (the) second half of next year. Every OEM will decide whatever their launch timeline is, but we're actively working on it.

Nunes' choice of words could indicate that it is working to launch Chrome for ARM laptops with specific device manufacturers, which would be an interesting approach, to say the least. But if a native ARM port of Chrome is around the corner, it would be a big win for Windows 10 on ARM PCs. As much as Microsoft is hoping to bolster adoption of its own Edge browser, the fact remains that Chrome dominates the market. Anything that would boost the browser's performance, even if only by a small amount, would only serve to benefit consumers in the end.

Beyond Chrome, Nunes also commented on the growing ecosystem of Snapdragon PCs as more powerful chips hit the market. When asked if he was worried people would skip over Snapdragon 850 laptops in favor of those with later Snapdragon releases (such as the rumored Snapdragon 1000), Nunes responded:

No, I don't think so… We're gonna be creating two distinct product lines… We know you need device diversification. We know you need price diversification. And you're not going to be able to do that with one product. So we do expect two different lines of products with two different price points. So they will co-exist.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • It's about time a native ARM version of Chrome was made...but would it be released on Microsoft's app store or be installable separately as a Win32 app like the x86 Chrome version? Also, why so far off in the second half of 2019? I thought it was just a matter of recompiling the existing source code for the Win10 app to ARM64 (and maybe make some touch-friendly UI adjustments).
  • Don't think Microsoft allows any browsers in the store that don't use Edge's engine. No idea why it's taking so long. I thought chromium already existed for ARM on Linux in some form.
  • There are other browsers in the store and in the past, UC Browser and Opera Mini were available. However these browsers are/were available in the mobile store.
  • The point they were making is all those browsers still use the Edge engine. Just like browsers on iOS need to use the Safari engine, and Android browsers are strongly encouraged to use the Chrome engine.
  • > just a matter of recompiling the existing source code All of the "just recompile" people should try recompiling and running the simple snippet of the program below on Intel and ARM, run it and come back explaining the difference in behaviouor... unsigned char uc = 0xE7;
    if(uc == '\xE7')
  • Greatness... Now, could Andromeda devices see benefit from such apps? That would be cool.
    I'm still seeing usage cases for this type of device that smartphones can't handle.
  • 1 - OEMs pay Google to port Chrome to WoA
    2 - Google gets also money from ads Win-win for Google, not so much for anyone else? 🤔
  • Good to see W10 on ARM catching up.
  • Doesn't chrome run on ARM on phones?
  • yeah but they have to make one for the Windows 10 operating system specifically.