Microsoft needs to release its ARM64 Edge browser for Surface Pro X users now

Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft Surface Pro X (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Microsoft is a massive company, and with that sometimes comes inexplicable decisions. Take the Surface Pro X – the company's first real stab at supporting the Windows on ARM architecture in premium hardware. You would think the company would be firing on all cylinders to sell the experience, but as is a familiar tale with the company, there are some bafflingly significant gaffs.

For example, this week, Microsoft made a deserved big deal about its new Edge browser built on the Chromium Project. Moreover, it got a fancy new logo to go with it and – credit where credit is due – it's so far, an outstanding browser worthy of Windows 10 (and iOS, Android, and even Mac).

So why is it that, if you plunk down well over $1,100 for a new Surface Pro X, you can't use an ARM64 version of that Edge browser? Microsoft is clear that it is not shipping a finalized version of the modern Edge until mid-January 2020, so that's understandable. Still, the ARM64 version is not even available as a Canary or Developer build for Insider testing.

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows CentralCurrent version of the new Edge browser compiled for ARM64. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

For those curious, the Surface Pro X runs regular Windows 10 Home, but it runs that on ARM64 code – which is why it feels as fast as an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 (and it really does). While the custom SQ1 processor co-developed with Qualcomm can run x86 32-bit applications – like the new Edge browser or even Google Chrome – that code is not optimized for the Surface Pro X resulting in slightly worse performance and also a hit on the battery.

What Microsoft needs is a natively compiled version of Edge for ARM64 – and it has one too. Microsoft has one in testing with version 80.0.327.0 being the latest at the time this article goes live (that's the same build as Edge Canary). It gets updated nearly every day and – get this – it runs beautifully on the Surface Pro X (and other Windows on ARM PCs). It's really good – it's fast, smooth, and is great for battery life. But you can't have it, not today.

How this is still happening in 2019 is beyond me. And frankly, it's embarrassing.

Microsoft cites undefined "blocking issues" preventing its release to Edge Insiders for testing. I don't doubt that – for instance, the ARM64 browser cannot auto-update itself. But I've been using this ARM64 browser for months now (you can find ways to get it), and I have had no show-stopping bugs – it feels as polished as the Edge Dev releases.

Regardless, Microsoft should have done one of two things here. Either it should have waited to release the Surface Pro X until it could sort out this browser issue in January, or, have the ARM64 version ready for public testing with the Insider releases. The latter is not ideal, but at least tech reviewers could point to it and try it out before lambasting the Surface Pro X.

The reason why this is important is simple. This week I spoke with Aaron Woodman, general manager for Windows marketing, about Edge. By Microsoft's own account, up to 50 percent of a Windows 10 user's time is spent in the browser. Nailing that experience is critical especially on riskier technology like the Surface Pro X.

Source: MicrosoftMicrosoft Teams has 32- and 64-bit versions, but nothing for ARM64 or UWP - why? (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

And the Edge browser is but one example. What about Microsoft Teams? The app comes in 32- or 64-bit variants, with the former working on the Surface Pro X via the emulation layer. Sure, it works, but a Universal Windows Platform (UWP), or even a native ARM64-compiled version, would be much better. The Surface Pro X is geared towards "tech-forward mobile workers" where Microsoft Teams is quite literally the selling point; how is this not even on Microsoft's radar? Why, after more than two years of ARM PCs, is Microsoft still dragging its feet in supporting its own apps and services?

To anyone following Microsoft for years, none of this is surprising – in fact, it's classic Microsoft. That doesn't make it any less frustrating, though. The Surface Pro X is arguably the most innovative hardware this year, but Microsoft is seemingly self-sabotaging with its lackluster ARM64 support. This argument goes back to the UWP days, when the company rarely embraced its own tech. How this is still happening in 2019, even under CEO Satya Nadella's tutelage, is beyond me. And frankly, it's embarrassing.

Come on, Microsoft, get it together.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Remember when MS was proud about dog fooding everything they created? If they won't build for their own platform, why should other developers?
  • The native Teams is based on Electron which uses Chromium as well. So it's the same problem as the browser, aka getting ARM64 builds to work reliability (in the case of Electron it's also making sure that all the extra stuff of Electron works). You can just use with basically the same features (or the PWA even). Chromium is deep rooted using Win32 (mostly because of history as well as there was no migration path and a lot of missing capabilities in UWP). Microsoft only started contributed a year ago on Chromium so it takes time to port it to ARM64 for Windows even though technically a good chunk of the code base compiles and work just fine on ARM64 (because of Android).
  • I mean, all of that is true, but as someone buying the Pro X I don't care why or how hard it is to do this stuff. It's not the consumer's business to worry about the "challenges" Microsoft faces here. ARM was announced nearly THREE years ago - Microsoft has had time to get this stuff sorted. And the ARM64 Edge seems good enough for Canary - that's the point of that ring, after all 🤷‍♂️ (Also, ARM support for Electron was announced a few months ago - I'm not sure of the status, but again, not my problem).
  • Never buy hardware with the promise that the software will come later. That is the lesson I learned with my Surface RT and L920. This is hardly a "pro" device
  • I think everyone puts too much weight into "pro" these days when we all know it's a marketing term. The iPad "pro" can't do Final Cut or run full Ps either. I think of all the criticism of ARM devices this is the more superficial/missing the point.
  • I think that too many people have forgotten the Symbian, Windows 7 phones, Windows 8 phones and the Windows 10 Mobile projects that all came with great promises and eventually were dropped. Microsoft has a long history of starting on something only to drop it rather than really supporting it... I really do understand people's concerns here.
  • True but the Pro X can already be a compelling product just for niche use cases (and since it runs W10 instead of some other unloved MS OS/child it can only get better over time).
  • @ochhanz Niche cases? Get better over time? The wise move for all but those niche cases is to wait for ARM devices to be both feature rich and affordable which as it stands right now it is neither.
    Consumers have been hurt too often by MS and her pie in the sky predictions. Only if and when developers in numbers start showing support should consumers even consider the Pro X.
  • Yes a niche because whether the Pro X is interesting enough for the masses or not, it fits perfectly now (not later but now) with the workflow of some people (just not many relatively speaking, hence the term niche).
    If people purely buy it cause of predictions than they choose to gamble (which may or may not be worth it) with their money, but that goes for about every novel product and not only from MS (which I have a feeling some people here forget sometimes -> "Consumers have been hurt too often" ...).
  • Microsoft can certainly drop support for WoA at some point. It isn't simply Windows 10. I wouldn't be surprised if it happens sooner than later. Why does Microsoft need WoA when 10X is released?
  • Except it is W10 since it shares the code apart from the translation layer etc and that is what is important here. It is not a different OS like WP was and it is not purely dependent on the Store and mobile browsers like WP / RT were because of the translation function (similar performance to a i5 u 6 gen, so pretty decent, ignoring Photoshop that cannot find the gpu to get good performance). Most likely if MS would right now mention they will stop support, they will do it for whole W10 or only for a small part of WOA (since it shares the code with W10). Even in your worst case scenario MS will still give it 3-4 years of updates after the last sold product has (just like they did with WP10, better than most Android products).
    So unless you have high expectations for future updates, there is no risk here in buying it in contrary to WP / RT.
  • > Except it is W10 since it shares the code apart from the translation layer Even if this was the case, testing and support are separate and not insignificant costs. I am not saying Microsoft will abandon WoA, I have no knowledge on the subject one way or another. However, Wo<different>A, WoM and WoP are all RIP by now...
  • Okay that is true, but still there is hardly any risk if you want the product as it is now available. Considering MS did not already kill WOA already with previous WOA products not having sold well, I don't think the chances are big now them removing the plug. And even if they would do that it is a much better scenario than with WP (10) and even RT: less buggy, translation layer (6th gen i5u speed is decent), a real browser etc. ps: don't think it is fair to put WoM in the same sentence since it was followed up by WP. That is like saying every old version of an OS is rip / a failure now.
  • How is it any different from other companies like Google, for example. They have also started and dropped many things. I'm not saying this as an excuse but I often feel like people single out Microsoft or have double standards as if they're the only ones who do this.
  • There's nothing unreasonable about expecting support for something you've bought.
  • Which it will have/has, just perhaps not the support some people expect(?).
  • I figured that since Chromium already runs on Android, it would be relatively straightforward to tweak it for Windows 10 ARM64 and release a build for it, but I guess it's not that simple. It still does not excuse Microsoft, though. They are a multi-billion dollar software powerhouse with vast resources.
  • You can just use On what browser? Lackluster x86 emulated ones, or the 'non-existant' chromium Edge? That should ship with this ARM based Surface. When I read that new/chromium/crEdge was going to release without some 'basic' features, I figured OK. When I read that one of them was no ARM64 version, I said, WTH? Kinda blows a big hole in Surface Pro X. I guess it is currently running the existing Edge as a 64 bit ARM version, but the word is that is going away, and certainly is no longer a focus at MS with the new and improved one slated to release. Having been a devout Windows Phone user, one of my biggest irritations was the lackluster support MS put into its own apps for the platform, compared to the effort it put into those same apps for iOS and Android. This seems like the same emphasis towards their ARM platform. has been said before, If MS doesn't believe in it enough to support it, why should anyone else.
  • Same **** different product... Can't seem to prioritize development where they should for conumser benefit on their own platform. Not surprising at all. Until Microsoft gets their **** together, devs are going to just follow their lead and not prioritize ARM development for this device category. And if they don't succeed, it will get canned and they will complain that nobody wanted to develop for it, even though they paid devs. But why should a 3rd party dev build for this when you don't even prioritize development for it? Reminds me of a mobile platform I loved and got burned on...
  • If MS canned ARM, UWP and WCOS... what will happen to smart city, gov projects, smart canteen, smart cashier, kiosk, coffee machine, car, robotics?
  • Dan, good piece - I've been feeling the same since getting the Pro X this week. I'm running the ARM64 version of Edge now, but the MS Teams issue has no workaround. I am trying to use this as a potential daily driver in a corporate setting, and MS isn't doing itself (or consumers) any favors with it's all too familiar apathetic posture.
  • Yup. Add Visual Studio and Code to the list.
  • Don't Hold Your Breath! Surface Go should only have this ARM chip. For a "Pro" device... it is not ready for Prime Time.
  • I agree. I don’t know why Microsoft would call a Surface device with ARM “Pro.” Again, Microsoft fails at messaging. It would have been so simple to distinguish between “Pro” and not Pro with Intel vs. ARM. I want ARM to succeed, but calling it “Pro” was a huge mistake. They should have just called it “Surface X.”
  • I'm struggling to understand how calling it "Pro" or not changes anything about the content of this article? Like, somehow not calling it Pro would make the issues I raised go away? Not matter? I find that difficult to believe.
  • Simple....Expectations! There are Consumers and there are Prosumers. You and I know that the average Consumer would expect it (being a PC) to run Adobe Premier. Why? Well the Pro 6 and 7 could and can. The X can disappoint the average Consumer. However, the Prosumer would know better. Analogy: You have to look at this from the eyes of a Zdnet reviewer not a CNET reviewer. Potential buyers need to be informed and educated.
  • Apparently you are using the old fashioned concept of "Pro". These days it seems to have little to do with functionality, or target audience. It simply means, 'costs more'...iPad Pro, Airpods Pro...
    I don't know if average consumers would expect it to run Adobe Premier or such, but they darn sure would expect it to run MS's current browser, Pro or not. I have a Surface Go, LTE version, and love it. I would appreciate a lot of the features of an ARM based version of the device. I'd like the smaller bezels, instant on, improved battery life, but I wouldn't want it bigger. The size is one thing that I really like about it.
  • @ITMedCEO "You have to look at this from the eyes of a Zdnet reviewer not a CNET reviewer" What do you mean by that?
  • CNET is for Consumers, ZDNet is for Prosumers.
  • Prosumers know what the X can not do...whereas a consumer wouldn't (for the most part). A Consumer would buy this and later want to install Adobe Light Room or something similar on it and be greatly disappointed.
  • I think it's because of the form factor... It has a detachable keyboard like any other Pros right?
    Called it Pro, not because it can fly.
  • I hope the Surface Go doesn't become an ARM device. We use Surface Gos in the medical field with antimicrobial Joy Factory cases and we need 100% compatibility with all of our Windows software, hardware and printers without having to spend over $600 per device. The Surface Go is great for the mobile workers and even great when colleagues accidentally leave their Surface Pro at home and they can use the Surface Go as a stand in device and continue their workflow without a loss of productivity. It is great to be able to dock the Surface Go to two monitors and have them sign in with their AD account and continue working as if it was their own PC. Windows on ARM would ruin the workflow and not meet the requirements anymore. I don't see any other manufacturer making Windows tablets or 2-1s or Convertibles in the price range of the Surface Go with that level of hardware fit and finish, Surface Pen support and Windows Hello facial recognition. For consumers or general computing, the Surface Go may seem like small stuff that can be regulated to Windows on ARM but for certain career fields, the Surface Go is FINALLY the iPad replacement that CFOs and CIOs won't hesitate to approve. $399 and runs ALL of our software and domain security. Deal, order 200 of them. $399 and doesn't run all of our software. Buy ZERO of them. $699+ (Surface Pro etc.) to run all software, ok, buy 10 of them. The feature compatibility and price greatly affects purchasing and also affects the outcome of patient and client service. Windows on ARM would force a shift in device purchasing to less devices and less people having access to the hardware, software and services that they need. For the decision makers, it's simply an ALL or NOTHING when it comes to software compatibility and the chance isn't given to possibly, most, emulation or anything that doesn't = All/The same/100% as any other Windows PC.
  • The thing is you can have two variants of the Surface GO, an x64/x86 version and ARM version. The ARM version would be cheaper to produce as you don't have to add additional chipsets for WiFi and LTE as it's all on the SOC.
  • Thanks for posting that. Nice to read about a success story for the Go. I love mine, even with the limitations. (mostly speed and battery life) Mine wasn't $399, since it is the 8/128G with LTE. Yours isn't either if you include the keyboard and pen, but that's true of the 'starts at $699' Surface Pros too.
    Could you repost that sometime over at Paul Thurrot's site when he disses the Go as not being suitable for anyone. He does that once a week, so you won't need to wait long.
  • Second that. Surface Go is a brilliant piece of equipment and mine runs fast too (it doesn't seem to have read those reviews complaining about its performance). It is a matter of configuration. Microsoft got the size pretty much right and I think they could develop the 10" segment further by doing the following: 1. Surface Go 2 WiFi. An updated version of the existing model.
    2. Surface Go 2 LTE. An ARM version with LTE, which replace the current 8/128 LTE model.
    3. Surface Pro 10" LTE. A smaller Intel or AMD based 10" version, which take over the space previously occupied by the 8/256 "Business Go". I.e. the "Business" LTE versions of the Go become a Surface Pro in a smaller packaging with something like an i3 or i5. It would be interesting if they would make some kind of "performance dock" for their line-up: Dock a Surface 2-in-1 into it and it can offer a faster CPU/GPU in a slim chassis with a monitor on top. It would make the desktop experience even better.
  • I think the Go should have at least an 7nm AMD chip because it would keep it legacy friendly with companies while removing an Intel invulnerability (meltdown or spectre was it) and be ideal as an (indie) gaming tablet. As a bonus it will allow MS & AMD to optimize AMD chips for Windows. So lots of target groups / pros.
  • Yeah only if amd offers decent battery life & performance better than next generation atom.
  • The 7nm will be good battery life wise, should be noticeable better than the current Go. Sleep might be the exception in the beginning, but firmware patches and hibernate can fix that. Atom will probably be better battery life wise but will not be as big as an performance upgrade (unless intel has some magic in its sleeves) and would not help MS/Windows further being more independent from Intel.
  • This reminds me of the time I watched the Dolphins play their season opener in Miami...such a horrible game...complete crash and the Surface Pro X launch, and it's painful because I want ARM to succeed so badly!
  • This is just whining from the editor. No one has even noticed because no one has this device yet and no one is interested in MS Chrome x86 or ARM or PWA.
    Not even Microsoft themselves
  • I'm struggling to find relevance or the important insight in this comment.
  • Reviewers have noticed, and are universally saying similar things. It doesn't matter? Matters to me. I canceled my SPX and ordered an SP7.
  • Yep, exactly what was predicted from the death of mobile, no reason to invest in UWP, no apps for the "modern" Windows. And the reality is the browser is just the tip of the incompatibility iceberg so really what is the selling point of WOA again?
  • tbh, UWP is less of a concern here, it's more about recompiling existing 32-bit x86 apps for ARM64.
    "the browser is just the tip of the incompatibility iceberg"
    It's not incompatibility, it's optimization. You can install whatever browser you want, it'll run and run better than you may think on the SQ1. But recompiling for ARM64 (Firefox has one) gives an even better experience. Microsoft Edge does have this version, it's just the Pro X is 2 months early.
  • A few minutes with Chrome on a Surface Pro X was frustrating. That device should be sub $300 with that performance. Apple makes an iPad for $329 with better build quality, a better screen, far better battery life, better performance, and a mature ecosystem. Why can't Microsoft at least get these ARM machines into the ballpark? At least WC is starting to question these decisions Microsoft is making.
  • Hey why are you posting here. You are passionate Google Fanboy should you be at Android Central ???
  • Chrome is frustrating on every computer and device I have been using (be it Android or Windows). A Chromium fork tend to run in circles around it (we are talking double performance on the same hardware, for example when comparing CAF builds with Chrome). The same situation is pretty evident on Windows too. Chrome=The new "Internet Explorer 6"... Since you love the iPad so much: Why not buy it and head to iMore? Mature ecosystem? I dare to say that Windows have a far more mature ecosystem... I have been trying the Pro X and would take it every day of the week over an iPad.
  • Yes.. As of this moment W10oA feels like an improved version of RT. I bought the Pro X for light computing, yet I'm a bit disappointed to see the lack of native first party apps. I use Office, Teams, Edge, VSCode and none of these are running natively. Don't get me wrong, the emulated performance is far better than I expected, but still. This is a Surface that is supposed to showcase the best of W10oA, and at this point it is not doing that. The only silver lining is that OneNote is running natively, and I'm glad to see that the pen performance has significantly improved over my previous Surface Pro 4. And it is ironic that linux binaries in WSL all run natively (because the linux community have been supporting ARM64 for quite a while). Probably that is why in the browser space only Firefox has a native ARM64 browser till now (aside from the old Edge). Also, I don't think Microsoft even has recovery media (ISOs) available for W10oA. I tried creating an installation media on the SPX using Microsoft's Media Creation Tool, and the recommended option was Windows 10 Home x86 (32-bit). Which means, as of now there is no way of doing a clean install on the SPX.
  • For a clean install, go into the settings and search for "reset this pc". That will do a full reinstall using the existing system files. Just beware I haven't got an SPX so I can't confirm if it will still be native ARM64 windows after resetting it.
  • I honestly don't see the purpose of this device. Its strengths were supposed to be great battery life, always on and LTE. Battery life has already been determined to be not even close to what Microsoft indicates. It costs as much and in some configurations even more than the Pro 7. It's a lot slower than a Pro 7. If that's the price you need to pay just for always on and LTE then that explains why this country is at an all time high in debt. I mean, Daniel Rubino is the biggest Microsoft defender ever. So when he's being critical of Microsoft, that's when you know Microsoft has serious issues (at least in the consumer side)
  • "I honestly don't see the purpose of this device. "
    Tech-forward mobile workers. It's not a hard concept. Many people in business and professions need a device with all-day batter, LTE, instant-on, and the power of Windows 10. Just because you don't find value in it does not change that others may and do (see r/reddit). When you have a specific job, sometimes you need a specific tool. The Pro X is all I need for work. Your job may be different, but 🤷‍♂️?
    "Battery life has already been determined to be not even close to what Microsoft indicates."
    Every review you have read was before the recent firmware update that improved battery life and stability. Take day 1 reviews with a grain of salt. Also, if you're running x86 Chrome as your main browser you're right you won't get as much battery life. Switch to ARM64 Edge and you do. That's my point of this article that I think you're missing.
    "It costs as much and in some configurations even more than the Pro 7."
    Pro 7 has a smaller display, non-removable SSD, and no LTE. Hard to compare directly.
    "It's a lot slower than a Pro 7"
    Which version - dual-core Core i3? Very unlikely. The eight-core SQ1 beats an 8th Gen i5 in a CPU test pretty easily. In emulation mode it's the same as a 6th Gen Core i5-6400.
    " If that's the price you need to pay just for always on and LTE then that explains why this country is at an all time high in debt."
    We're now entering your weird hangups/social commentary that no one cares about.
    "I mean, Daniel Rubino is the biggest Microsoft defender ever. "
    How about just stick to making actual points instead of being a jerk?
  • BTW can it run Visual Studio Code?
    If so it meets my requirements too.
  • Thanks for this - I just visited a store to check out the device and was very excited for the hardware. And that was about it. What I can not understand, for the life of me, is how MS can release such a device when only the 32 bit(as indicated in cpu process manager) of office 365 proplus will function on the device(of their own damn product-grrrrr) . They had 3+ years to get a copy of native office in 64bit set for release, teams is the same...yet they didn't... This device is driven for business use and to not have the office suite sorted is a huge fail. In fact, as of early last year - default click to run office installs are 64 bit. I also reference the Twitter post where a dev (@slaven) claims the ms app store is in "maintenance mode" and had a hell of a time getting help for ARM64 apps... This is yet another #cloudfirstconsumerlast fail from MS and while frustrating as hell - not surprising either. I hope it changes - but MS needs to get going or just give up on WoA all together... I will not be purchasing the proX, I need compatibility and functionality and the ProX doesn't provide for these requirements at the moment.
  • I believe that the Surface Pro X runs 32-bit x86 copies of Microsoft Office to make it compatible with existing Office plug-ins. It sucks but fighting against x86 incumbency is a huge undertaking when you're launching on a new CPU architecture.
  • If you don't need LTE, and like the Surface Pro form factor, then why not consider the Surface Pro 7? It's maybe a bit boring since it looks and feels like a SP6 (or SP3 for that matter!). But it has a very good display, excellent keyboard, precision trackpad, the latest Intel CPUs, and a very up to date USB-C port (just one notch below Thunderbolt; capable of driving a pair of UHD, HDR monitors at 60 Hz).
  • Looks the same as the SP4 than since that decreased the bezels iirc.
  • Office is recompiled for ARM, but it runs as "Win32" to trick the OS. The reason: to allow those plugins to install/work.
  • I guess it is more of a hit on the Surface X lower battery life but I run the Canary build (32 bit) on my Yoga C630 and still get 16-18 hrs. of battery life. I have never had issues with performance on either that or Teams through emulation as a day to day thing.
  • Would you still recommend that Yoga C630? I can find one on Ebay for about $500 and I believe that is a reasonable price to pay for a Windows 10 ARM device, because I sure as heck ain't forking out $1000+ for a Surface Pro X (as it stands now).
  • I use it as my day to day driver, it is a great machine at $500, especially the 8GB version
  • Now if you have a deeper insightful look at Pro X from a practical perspective. It is not even barely ready for prime time, in fact, the whole ideology of Windows on ARM is not baked in a serious strategic way, Dan gave good examples here. As much as I love the hardware, it is half baked experience, nah, barely there. When you have proven hardware (Processing and computing) work with all the software you need and don't (Intel married to Windows, Mac, Linux). It is not easy to jump in and take the leap to something not proven yet (Windows on ARM). The only reasonable example currently in market is iPad OS, it was designed with complete understanding around the limitation of mobile processing, this is why Apple even said Heck NO, we will never have iPad OS and Mac OS merged, at least not any time soon, and the reasons are obvious. I am not saying iPad OS is comparable to Windows on ARM, and that's the point. Understanding the limitations and setting expectations on what you are using this device for is the line between true and false. We all laughed at Apple pushing the (iPad to replace your computer) ads jokes campaign, and to be fair to Apple, they somehow leveled down as it is utterly credulous. In theory, Windows on ARM is doable, the Pro X is a good starter, but not ready for prime time, at least for most Windows users as they are naturally demanding and like to mess around and try new software all of the time, for that, ARM status is killing the experience out of the box. I had many people asking me shall I get Windows on ARM device. My answer was always NO, not now, not in near future. As much as it is painful, it is just the ground facts and the status of now. The trick here is simple and complicated. ARM64. With it, the potential is high. Without it, it is just the UWP emulation that failed to the bones. This is the fear, we have seen it before falling short and doomed. Hopefully not this time!
  • It's not even a matter of "proven"'s a matter of taking the source code (the blueprint for any software) and translating it into something that ARM CPUs can natively understand. ARM's success in the mobile phone and tablet space is proof enough that it can work, it's just that the app situation is hard to solve because you are fighting against decades of x86 incumbency in the Windows app (and driver) world. It's hard enough to get existing devs to compile their apps to ARM64, but when Microsoft itself can't even release an ARM64 browser ready for their flagship ARM product, it's like whoever is in charge of WOA at Microsoft is asleep at the wheel.
  • Daniel coming with the spice, I love it, or is it just the truth, maybe a mix of both :)
  • Daniel Rubino maybe I missed it but have you released your full hands in review of the SPX? Would like your perspective. Clearly you have some hold ups but what about daily operation? How good is the Emulation? Ect.
  • Review is coming this coming week ~November 15. Microsoft was late sending us a review unit, so I have only had it for a few days.
  • Edge based on chromium for intel/ non ARM Windows 10 faces bugs even with the latest this week development version. It fails Tensorflow's Tensorboard while the non chromium Edge passes.
  • Who deserves Surface Pro X???!!! The few who is visionary and technically savvy to stand up through the initial majority doubts.
  • So, masochists. ;) (irrelevant words to meet the three word requirement)
  • A both eloquent and thoughtful piece. Well done Mr. Rubino! In summary: a nice piece of hardware marred by flawed software support. That does not cut it in 2019.
  • We know what is coming... MS tablet with Android.
  • Panos has been very adamant: Android is not an option for them on devices with screens larger than 8 inches. Only Windows gets the job done at that size. It's the same reason why you're not using/buying an Android tablet in 2019 either. It's not good. And Microsoft can't "fix that" for Google.
  • The reason I'm not buying an Android tablet in 2019 is not because of the OS. It is because Android developers have not bothered to update, refactor, their apps for a larger device like iOS (iPad) developers have. They have stepped up to this to the point that Apple has recognized it by forking an iPadOS to allow iPad targeted OS capabilities above what is available in iOS.
  • The reason we aren't using Android tablets in 2019, is due to phones being so large and great. Newsflash: even less people are using Windows tablets and Microsoft can't fix that either.
  • Can you link a "phone" with an 8" 16:9 or 16:10 display? I don't see the "greatness" in 2019 smartphones with narrow 18:9-21:9 aspect ratios.
  • Hi Daniel. What you said is true for now, but Google is building Fuschia (dual screen OS) and they also have Chromebook with Android app support. Thats my worry about Windows 10X and Neo. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love Neo and Win10 X is very exciting. Duo runs android now and what if later versions of Android can handle larger screens or even dual screens what will happen to Neo? Unfortunetly, MS has a good record in giving up. After seeing the poor launch of Surface Pro X I'm just not sure about how serious Microsoft is about app development for Windows.
  • I was ready to buy one this week. Been waiting for an LTE variant, outside of the botched SP2017 release, since I had a L2520. But after reviews and terrible flashbacks to my Surface RT (remember the dancing guys), I've been burned enough by MSFT to wait a few months and see what shakes out.
  • You can also wait for my review ;) I actually like it quite a bit, but I'm not immune to pointing out what are obvious gaps in the device.
  • Like the price being double the market value?
  • Why? Simply, because of Nadella. He ****** up all. But you are just starting to realize...
  • Please. Ballmer and Gates - by their own admission - are responsible for the failure of Windows Phone and the failings of their consumer ambition. Nadella is merely cleaning it up.
  • Windows Phone was still steadily growing by small amounts every year in marketshare before Windows 10 Mobile came out. I think we can agree that W10M running like crap on an (at the time) high-end SD810 flagship lumia 950xl at launch wasn't a good look. Nadella isn't just cleaning up after other's mistakes - he was part of it too. He was the one limited resources to W10M mid-way through development (I think you have an article somewhere about it ages ago where they said that desktop is the main focus and mobile is low priority)... Also bear in mind that when he became CEO he said "cloud first, mobile first" before he made the decision to nerf W10M development. Nobody's perfect. It's okay to acknowledge people's mistakes.
  • Microsoft is still cloud first mobile first. It's not just windows mobile first. They have top notch apps for iOS and Android. Which I think is good for brand recognition. But not having ARM 64 office apps ready for Surface Pro X is crazy. They are not setting a good example to the developers to adapt windows app development.
  • This is a perfect example of how these "New Microsoft" articles about the cohesion are overblown. I'm sure it's a million times better but it's still not good. How can you have the Windows team spending energy on making the OS work on ARM with complicated emulation, the Surface team working on custom chipsets and designs, and not have your own programs ready to launch? A true cohesive org would have had this product targeted for this release date (probably 18-24 months in the making) along with the mandate that every other mainstream programs have a native ARM version ready to go at launch. THAT is how you build momentum and show an organization that is working in concert with all other parts.
  • Microsoft in 2019 is way better than Microsoft in 2014, but there are still many changes in how things are coordinated to be made. It's getting better, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
  • Thank you for the article, Daniel. I was interested in the Pro X before I saw some of the reviews. Very interested in your review, and appreciate your honesty.
  • Thanks. Review should be by the end of this week. I actually like the Pro X a lot, but I also like to light a fire under Microsoft to make it even better.
  • First thing they need to do is cut the price in half. You can price yourself at 3x the market leader and be confused when they don't sell.
  • Be reasonable bleached. How can MS cut the price in half? SPX has a top notch build quality, excellent screen, form factor, great compatibility with keyboard, the new pen and more importantly the new SQ1 chip (which is very good while not emulating). Everything I mentioned above were well received by the reviewers. What is sucks is poor battery life (only while using emulation) and sub par performance (again while emulation). These are some of its biggest drawbacks, I agree. Asking MS to cut the price in half sounds unreasonable to me. Just avoid this device if its not for you. With poor sales MS will learn a lesson and either improve the next version or shelve the project (WOA).
  • Makes you wonder just what kind of app support the Neo will arrive with. If WoA is struggling for internal support 2 years on, then Windows X is going to be years ahead of developer support
  • But the Neo has an Intel cpu and with the Pro X it seems to be Arm for Windows based issues.
    So in theory the Neo only (as a hard requirement) needs developers to add touch support and possibly smart dual screen usage. The former has been happened before (e.g. Solidworks had/has touch functions since W8 was released or something like that). The latter depends on how MS is going to implement that function in UWP etc I guess, at least Windows 10 already has decent multitasking support and Asus already managed some developer support to work with its screenpads for its Zenbooks (similar thingy).
    Maybe also crucial is that the Neo seems to be more relevant for communication, note taking/Office and artists. MS has the former 2 with its own software, that leaves only Adobe etc (which did showed some demo during the Neo reveal).
  • 'only ... needs developers to add touch support and possibly smart dual screen usage.' The former having happened before with Win 8 totally forgets Windows has had touch and pen support since Windows XP. Win 8 forced it down developers throats, and that's likely what killed it. App support for Win X from third parties will likely be like looking at their apps stretched across two 7" monitors side by side. Hopefully MS at least will do more.
  • Pen support okay but not real touch support, that happened from 8. XP and 7 had terrible ui for touchscreens. Not that I disagree about 8 having forced it, that was a dumb move but it is all hindsight.
  • what i see from videos; pro x machine is strong enough to run your everyday x86 programs, and this is what important. because face it, there are gazillions of programs and nobody try to convert them to uwp, let alone converting to arm versions. there will be always some programs that didn't converted to arm that you use. some will be converted, ported to arm or rewritten in uwp in time. i see no need to rush in that part
  • Don't forget it is just 32bit x86 programs. That limits the field a bit.
  • Check out Brad Sams review... He used it whole day at Microsoft Ignite. Running around a conference Centre with poor WI Fi but needs to get things done in between interviewing people... need Instant wakeup to continue writing, great internet connection through LTE, no delay in asking for conference Centre WiFi password, fast charging during short break, quick marketing with power point instantly,... If u have 50% power left... If u do not use Surface Pro X for a day over weekend, the next time u use it, it stays 50% without charging in between... If this is your prefer relationship with your 2 in 1, using the typical productivity apps, then Surface Pro X is your digital empowerment... 😊
  • This wasn't a review of the Pro X, which is coming in a few days. But no device is immune from criticism and even if you like everything about the Pro X the points I raise here are important, relevant, and need to be addressed by Microsoft.
  • Build in (old) Edge browser will run perfectly for next couple of months. Don’t care about the engine thats under the hood. As long as the commitment is there. The Teams client although needs ARM version ASAP. This is for many the primary business communications tool. And for Voice/video no delays are acceptable. One question for the community. Does the ProX support miracast ? Had a chat with MS support and they confirmed it does because because it’s running Windows 10. Hope Daniel can test wireless screen beaming performance in his next deep dive test. For us as a MS partner we use the surface Hub constantly.
  • This is what I was thinking concerning Edge. Are you forced to use the Chromium Edge however when Windows is updated?
  • In the future it will replace the current EdgeHTML, but not until it's ready.
  • So this whole post/commotion from Daniel is about nothing for most people. :o
  • I was able to wirelessly mirror and extend my display to my Samsung TV. Not sure if it was via Miracast or something else.
  • Thanks for sharing that. As long as it's capable of doing that natively without any adapters on the Surface I am fine.
  • I was actually pretty impressed. I was streaming from the NHL GameCenter site using extended display mode. The stream from Pro X to the TV was spotless (looked just like cable) and I was able to browse the web and work on some Office/Outlook stuff without any hiccups. This is using the leaked ARM native Chredge browser. Additionally the battery didn't take a hit at all.
  • Well said Daniel, it's incredibly disappointing and frustrating so much so that's hard to put it in words without using an explicit expletives. As the Surface Pro X is a steller device which is once again is let down by Microsoft's lacklustre support of their own ecosystem of windows apps and services.
  • This is extremely frustrating - there is absolutely no reason for them not to release a 'canary/dev build' of the browser. I'd love to install the leak but I'd really prefer it from the official source.
  • Yup, it's all I'm asking for. Canary is literally built for high risk/things don't always work situations. I'm baffled by that here.
  • Given that MS is not giving any details on why they're not releasing at least a Canary version, maybe there's some legal wrangling going on behind the scenes?
  • Tbh,the original is still better in terms of design and especially inking. I use edge inking every day,its a crucial fearure
  • I too use the original, no complaints (would actually prefer since it is not chromium but oh well).
  • I don't want to downplay the importance of getting the browser right, however, there are certainly other elements Microsoft needs to address. There's a serious chicken and egg problem and Microsoft needs to put more effort into getting app developers to recompile their software for ARM. Maybe that involves some sort of cash incentive (which can potentially cause other problems but desperate times and all that). But also not saving the best for themselves. The SQ1 chip should be available to other manufacturers immediately. Maybe Microsoft doesn't want to produce an ARM Surface Go, but Microsoft is only shooting themselves in the foot by not allowing other companies to make a SQ1 equipped 10-inch tablet. And I'm sure they could do it for much less than a grand. Windows needs more iPad Air like devices - a great processor AND a reasonable price. Perhaps then developers will take notice. Constantly making pricey niche devices can't be the only way.
  • "The SQ1 chip should be available to other manufacturers immediately. "
    Marketing aside, SQ1 is simply the 8cx clocked a bit higher with better thermals and a few tweaks. OEMs can use the 8cx and will get very similar performance, or they can clock it higher too if their thermal solution is optimal.
  • Hey Daniel did you try the leaked Aarch64/Arm64 canary builds that was posted on the r/Surface subreddit? Latest version is Nov. 7 IIRC and you need Telegraph to download it.
  • I wrote all about how I am using Edge ARM64 including a screenshot, so yes?
  • M-my bad I was skimming through and posted too fast. Should have read the 5th paragraph before replying...
  • As long it doesn't support Microsoft's own software like Edge, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code and Office natively Windows 10 on Arm is no option for me because I heavy depend on this for my daily use in school or for coding and don't want to be treated like a second class consumer.
  • Office is compiled for ARM it just looks like Win32 so that third-party plugins will recognize it and still install. Visual Studio also runs on it. Whether it runs well is another issue. I would not recommend this as a dev machine.
  • Where can I download office 365 for ARM64? Did the arm64 version only come out very recently? I'm having trouble finding it. :/
  • It does support Edge just not the Chromium one (which is not even released for the masses yet). VS is the only thing that I am not sure about, try it I guess (you can always return it if your unhappy).
  • This new browser is based largely on code that they didn't write. How well that code ports to ARM64 on Windows is important to understand when taking a position on this matter. I write cross-platform C++ code. A lot of planning is required to make code cross-platform. If a code base wasn't originally planned for a target platform, it can be extremely expensive to move the code reliably to a new target. ARM64 on Windows is pretty new. Even Qt (a large cross-platform C++ framework) doesn't support that target. They support ARM64 on Android though. I'm confident Microsoft will eventually get an ARM64 on Windows port of the Edge browser. It just takes time.
  • Actually the code does not need to be cross platform - it is just Win32 code. If you target Windows there is not much cross-platform planning involved - you just compile it for different processor targets, which is almost always totally transparent to the programmer.
    Also QT compiles flawlessly for Windows ARM64 once you get around few build system issues.
  • This is Microsoft's first windows 10 on ARM's device. I give them 2 years to get Windows 10
    on "ARMs" right ! even now Microsoft has given out 2 firmware updates, so I expect
    software updates are coming soon. I have patients Microsoft will get it right but one thing
    for sure The "Surface Pro X" is the device they have to work with now to iron out the Software bugs as well as hardware bugs. This is a Trial by Fire event not the best kind of scenario for
    Microsoft to be in. I wish them
  • There is nothing "Pro" about the iPad Pro.
  • There is nothing "Pro" about the Surface Pro X either. What is your point?
  • Let me summarize this from a Prosumers standpoint. This is practically another Surface RT! Pro 7 should have adopted this design. Sorry Microsoft ARM is NOT Ready....Period.
  • This machine was never intended for prosumers to begin with. I find WoA PCs are a good fit for corporate road warriors whose primary usage is Office 365 and browser. In a corporate environment, your laptop is IT managed so you can't install any software you like, so there is no issue of Photoshop or Light Room cannot run, and also no issue of Grand Auto Theft cannot run either. Most corporate apps are now web based, and Citrix are also readily available. And since it is targeted at this group of users, which happened to include plenty of executive level employees, the premium price is justified since you get great battery life and LTE / instant on which is a HUGE deal for this group of users.
  • This. Most people (especially reviewers) just don't seem to get this. They will start saying, but it cannot play x86 games, render videos or run x86 photoshop well so it is crap.
  • Corporate IT department has less issues to support.. Less unauthorized apps in Pro X.
  • Prosumer is such a joke term.
  • I think ultimately this is going to be a great product. But it always takes Microsoft 3 times to get anything in 2021/22 we should have a great Surface pro X
  • We are moving into. Net5 software development framework next year. We are achieving soon write one buT deploy to desktop, mobile, Web (PWA) using browser UI technology... Once the WoA native Edge based on Chromium is stabilized, it will be simpler to get online and offline Apps to address app gaps.... First for tablet form factor Surface Pro X and perhaps 2021, mobile Pro X form factor. Be patient...this is not Surface RT... there is a clear difference between apple and orange... But do ask for special discount of Surface Pro X is Christmas... 😉
  • I am not buying any Duo or Neo from MS before they ship a real phone again. It has to come with the Windows 10, WIndows 10 Mobile or Windows 10x on it. No Android on it. I can stay on HP Elite x3/Lumia 950 XL/Nokia Lumia 1520 phones for years with my simple needs. 4G is not going to be discontinued for years around here.
  • This IS pretty hard to believe. Imagine Apple not having Safari ready for iPadOS. Or Google not having Maps ready for a Pixel phone. This is beyond embarrassing. It smacks of incompetence somewhere.
  • I've been calling out the last line in article for the last 7 years of getting the tablet UI and tablet experience fully baked. Have seen support plummet after 2 years of progress in windows 10. Windows 10 is messy, microsoft is messy. Not liking the way they're going. I'm worried. It was clear for me from the first reveal by Panos that something was off with the surface pro X. Surface pro 7 made sense, and I'm not feeling the neo or duo at this point in time. somethings off.
  • Until Microsoft fixes Windows on ARM, I wouldn't touch a Surface Pro X with a ten foot pole. I'm sure the hardware is great, but I'm just as sure the software is a disaster.