June 22, 2024

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Google’s upcoming Chrome release could be good for Windows on ARM devices taking on MacBooks and Chromebooks

3 min read

Google Chrome is coming to Windows 11 devices running on ARM processors. A new version of the browser has been released through the Canary release channel which will allow users with ARM-based devices to run Chrome natively – rather than having to use an emulator (which brings its own complexities and performance issues). 

ARM-based mobile devices are very common already, and ARM processors and ARM-based chips (like Apple’s M1, M2, and M3 silicon chips) are becoming more commonplace in devices like PCs. Unfortunately, those running Windows on a device with an ARM chip couldn’t use Chrome natively and would have to use a workaround like running Chrome in emulation mode. 

This isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re emulating a virtual device within your device, you’re relying on the processing constraints of the virtual device. This limited how well Chrome performed on ARM-64 processor devices, until now, thanks to the latest release in the Canary channel, which is for very early and potentially unstable versions of Google Chrome, and which users can download and test at their discretion.

ARM

(Image credit: Arm)

Chromium, an open-source web browser project mainly developed and maintained by Google, has supported ARM-64’s architecture for many years. Oddly enough, Google Chrome itself (which is based on Chromium) has been available for most ARM-oriented operating systems – except Windows. It’s uncertain why Google Chrome has taken this much time to support Windows on ARM-based computers. Google has two operating systems that are designed to run on ARM hardware – Android for mobile devices and ChromeOS for Chromebooks – and Windows on ARM is a direct competitor, which could be one (rather cynical) reason.

MSPowerUser investigated for itself if this Canary version actually worked on a machine with an ARM processor that runs a recent version of Windows 11, and found that it worked on at least one such device that had an older Snapdragon 835 SoC processor. 

Man using download manager on laptop

(Image credit: Unsplash)

What to consider before downloading and installing 

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