Copilot+ PC warning issued by Samsung while companies hot potato problems

Copilot+ PCs based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon X SoC may not support popular software, which Samsung has now officially warned its customers.

2 minutes & 20 seconds read time

Copilot+ PCs have started hitting the market, and buyers are concerned that picking up one of these new AI-powered devices will mean some of their favorite software won't work, or at least won't work as well as it would on a traditional system.

Copilot+ PC warning issued by Samsung while companies hot potato problems 25854

Unfortunately, that appears to be the case, as the new Copilot_ PCs are based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon X SoCs that use Arm architecture, which is different from the traditional x86 architecture that has been present in PCs for decades. Developers have spent with the x86 architecture, meaning software has been finely tuned and optimized to run on compatible hardware. Unfortunately, this means Arm-based SoC-powered devices will need to port or emulate software to make it compatible.

Copilot+ PCs suffer from this fate, and to combat this, Microsoft decided to create an emulator called "Prism,," which the company claims is capable of running x86 software at speeds comparable to native x86-developed software. However, those claims haven't convinced Samsung as the company issued a warning to its Korean customers regarding its GalaxyBook Edge 4 Copilot+ PCs not being able to run some common software such as antivirus apps and games.

So, what can be done? When asked to comment on this limitation, Qualcomm pointed The Register to two crowdsourced websites that provide lists of compatible software with Windows on Arm-based devices. The publication then reached out to Samsung, who said to speak to Microsoft, who said it has "nothing to share at this time."

Following down the rabbit hole even further, The Register contacted Lenovo, HP, Dell, and ASUS, which are all producing Arm-based Copilot+ PCs. Dell pointed to source materials, ASUS didn't provide a comment, and Lenovo pointed back to Qualcomm help materials. HP provided the below excerpt from a Microsoft document.

"An x86 or x64 app will not know that it is running on a Windows on Arm PC unless it calls specific APIs that are designed to convey knowledge of the Arm64 host, such as IsWoW64Process2. Apps under emulation that query for processor details, including metadata or feature capabilities, will receive details corresponding to the emulated virtual processor. For compatibility reasons, the API GetNativeSystemInfo will also return emulated processor details when run from an app under emulation."

At the moment, it remains unclear which software is capable of running on Arm-based Copilot+ PCs, or what kind of performance a user will get. It appears companies want users to find out if their favorite software is stable enough on their new devices. However, Microsoft does claim "87 percent of the total app minutes people spend in apps today have a native Arm version".

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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