Windows Phone smartphones with Intel x86 chips could soon hit the scene with the next generation of Windows 10 Mobile handsets.
So far, all mobile phones running Windows packed ARM-based chips from Qualcomm. This will apparently change soon, as Microsoft is embracing Intel x86 chips.
As a new Microsoft webpage reveals, Windows 10 Mobile now supports both x86 and ARM-based SoCs. Windows Phone fans have long been waiting for this to happen, as no version of the OS has ever supported x86 chips.
This should enable Microsoft to better compete against rivals. Windows Phone is not nearly as popular as Android, and the available choices could have something to do with it.
Supporting both ARM (32-bit) and Intel x86 chips could lead to a wider range of Windows 10 Mobile devices, so users would have more options.
Microsoft teamed up with Intel in 2015 in a bid to convince device makers to bring Windows 10 to budget mobile devices running Atom X3 chips. It took a while for Microsoft to support larger device displays and higher resolutions, but it eventually got there.
Windows 10 Mobile supports devices with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels (QHD) and screen sizes of up to 7 inches.
However, the problem with Intel's Atom X3 is that it currently supports only 3G. This may be a main reason why no OEM took the challenge to launch an Atom X3-powered Windows Phone.
This year should bring faster Atom X3 chips with 4G LTE capabilities, which may appeal more to device makers. Microsoft was rumored to launch its own Surface Phone with an Intel Atom X3 chip, but nothing materialized so far.
While the partnership between Intel and Microsoft proved successful on the PC front, the two companies have yet to see a similar success on the smartphone market.
Windows 10 Mobile smartphones with Intel x86 chips on board could be the answer, and it's good to see they're in the cards. Neither Intel nor Microsoft offered any details on the matter, however, so it remains unclear just when such handsets would hit the market.
Nevertheless, it will bring an interesting change to the scene. ARM-based chips dominate the smartphone market and only a few Intel-based smartphones are available, all powering Android handsets.