Microsoft's New Edge-for-ARM64 Browser Leaks

Credit: MicrosoftCredit: MicrosoftWindows 10 on Arm users might finally have something to look forward to: Thurrott reported on June 6 that the new Chromium-based Edge browser for ARM64 devices leaked. That should mean the official release isn't too far off, which means Arm-based devices could soon have a decent browser option.

Microsoft has been trying to make Windows 10 on Arm happen for a while now. (Almost as long as Gretchen Wieners tried to make "fetch" happen in "Mean Girls.") But the effort has faced numerous obstacles, from products not performing up to the expectations set by their prices to devices shipping with a version of Windows 10 that didn't technically support them, that have all contributed to x86 processors remaining the CPUs of choice.

Browser support is another of those problems. People had to use emulated versions of popular browsers, which meant they didn't perform as well as expected. Things are improving on that front, though, as Microsoft and Google reportedly worked together on a version of Chrome for Windows 10 on Arm while Mozilla worked on a native version of Firefox for the platform. Yet tests for the new Edge browser started in April without ARM64 support.

Thurrott reported that a leaked version of the Microsoft Edge Canary test browser fixes that problem. The leak isn't available from Microsoft's servers--it has to be downloaded from an outside source--but it's reportedly legit. Just be warned that installing pre-release software can always lead to problems, and one should demonstrate caution before installing a leaked version of an upcoming app from a source they might not know particularly well.

Solving the browser problem could go a long way towards making Windows 10 on Arm more viable. Most people spend a lot of time in their browsers, which is why Google's original Chromebooks were basically hardware shells for a browser window, and having to deal with poorly performing browsers could significantly dampen their excitement for a system. There are still other problems to solve, but at least progress is being made on this one.

The addition of ARM64 support could also mean the new Edge is closer to release. Microsoft announced in December 2018 that it planned to use the open source Chromium project--which provides the foundation for Google Chrome--in a new version of Edge. The company introduced add-ons for the browser in March, started broader testing in April, and then announced in May that it would also make Edge available for macOS for the first time.