Adobe has announced the launch of the native version of Photoshop for Windows 10 on ARM, the variant of Windows 10 that Microsoft developed together with Qualcomm thinking especially about stopping the sale of Chromebooks.
Photoshop has become a de facto standard for image editing and retouching tasks. Although there are alternatives as in any type of software (some as good, free and open source as Gimp), there is no doubt that Adobe software is the great reference especially for the professional market. Photoshop is also a benchmark for evaluate the capacity of new platforms that hit the market, such as the Apple Mac M1 for which Adobe has already released the corresponding native version.
Photoshop had long been running on ARM-based Microsoft devices, but only indirectly, under the emulation function created to run Win32 applications and which allowed some programs from Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite to run. Taking into account that Photoshop requires a lot of hardware resources and that every emulation process entails performance loss, you can imagine that the user experience was not the best.
In fact, the inability to run Win32 applications (absolutely the majority in the Windows ecosystem) has been the main reason why Windows 10 on ARM has passed without pain or glory. The gossips say that this problem has also been responsible for the delay (or cancellation, we will see) of the launch of Windows 10X.
Photoshop for Windows 10 on ARM
Hence the importance of this launch. One of the great (de facto) standards in software comes natively to the platform. The application is 64-bit and requires ARM devices (such as Microsoft’s Surface X) with Windows 10 64-bit v19041.488.0 (Win10 20H1) or higher and a minimum capacity of 8 Gbytes of RAM (16 GB recommended).
Adobe warns that if you plan to use other 32-bit Creative Cloud products like Illustrator, you should not use this native 64-bit Photoshop as you will lose access to all those other Creative Cloud suite applications that are not natively available yet. for Windows 10 on ARM.
The native version of Photoshop for Windows 10 on ARM also has others limitations in terms of functions, support for built-in video layers or some filters. Adobe promises that it will continue working to offer all the features that it offers in the regular version of Windows 10 for x86 processors, but has not set a specific timetable.
We will see if other major vendors dare to produce native applications for Windows on ARM and if Microsoft can improve the emulation process to run the rest of the software with guarantees. Both options are complicated, and without them, it is logical that the reception of the user to this platform would have been tepid… to put it mildly.
The software support it’s still Windows 10’s great workhorse over ARM. Interestingly, the arrival of Apple’s ambitious project with Silicon, which does seem to have attracted more external developers, may end up helping any system that works under this RISC architecture that is sweeping mobility and that is also being introduced strongly in PCs.