Microsoft has been backing away from the smartphone market, conceding that the mobile market has been won by iOS and Android. CEO Satya Nadella has been talking around the future of Mobile in almost every appearance, and while it sounded to me like they were giving up it does indeed look like they are in the middle of a longer more complicated strategy. At the 2016 WinHEC conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 for PC, the full desktop version, is coming to mobile ARM processors in 2017.
To deliver on our customers' growing needs to create on the go with PCs with cellular connectivity, power-efficient battery life, and flexible designs, we announced today Windows 10 is coming to ARM through our partnership with Qualcomm … Hardware partners will be able to build a range of new thin, lightweight, power-efficient and always-connected Windows 10 PCs that run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps.
Microsoft is able to run Windows 10 on ARM by building an emulator directly into the operating system. This might present an opportunity for a new breed of mobile devices that will be able to run x86 win32 application (not x64), it would include apps like Photoshop and Visual Studio.
After Windows RT flopped so spectacularly this follow up actually makes sense, RT had tremendous battery life, looked like a PC but could not run any of the traditional desktop apps. Windows 10 has quickly turned into the most versatile operating system on the market.
This entire development should be keeping Intel up at night.