Microsoft and Google are working on a version of Chrome for ARM-based PCs

tech2 News Staff

ARM seems to be the hot new thing in the personal computing space. First it was Apple with it's >"iPad as a PC replacement" pitch, then it was Microsoft and Qualcomm with their >always-connected PC pitches.

ARM-based Windows 10 machines, such as the Qualcomm-powered Always-Connected PCs, offer incredible battery life and the power of a full Windows desktop operating system. This is a combination of features that are very appealing to a certain type of user. The one thing still missing from this world was Google Chrome, which is now a critical part of everyone's life.

According to a report in 9to5Google, Microsoft and Google are working together to fix this failing. Earlier, Microsoft demanded that all browsers use Microsoft's Edge rendering engine. Given that Google uses its own, arguably more advanced, rendering engine, this was a problem. The two companies appear to have found some sort of compromise in this regard.

ARM refers to a family of processors based on something called RISC (reduced instruction-set computing). Processors found in desktops and laptops are usually based on CISC (complex instruction-set computing) and are made by Intel and AMD.

RISC processors are more efficient and less flexible than CISC processors, making them ideal for use in scenarios where power consumption and battery life is a priority. This is what makes ARM processors an ideal choice for mobile devices. On laptops and desktop computers, where power consumption is secondary, CISC processors like those from Intel are preferred for their performance benefits.

In previous years, the performance difference between RISC and CISC was so great that device makers had a clear choice: an ARM-based processor could not be used in a laptop and an Intel/AMD CPU was useless on a mobile phone.

Today, however, things are different. While Intel/AMD CISC-based CPUs are still not efficient enough to be used in a mobile phone, RISC-based ARM processors are now powerful enough to be considered a viable option for low-power PCs.

To give an example, Apple's latest iPad Pro, while not as flexible as a real laptop, can export a 4K video faster than can most Windows-based PCs or Macs. In Windows world, ARM-powered Windows 10 devices are offering an unheard of 20-hr battery life. Computing devices like these demand that we question the very nature of a PC.

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