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Windows Phones May Run Full Desktop Apps Next Year

Windows Mobile phones could soon be able to run full, desktop versions of Windows apps instead of just so-called Universal apps.

The capability is expected to be available next fall, along with the launch of a Windows update dubbed Redstone 3, according to our friends at ZDNet, citing unnamed sources.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide)

Windows already has its Continuum feature that virtually saves a user's place when working on mobile devices and lets them continue right where they left off on a bigger screen when connected to a desktop dock.

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As with Windows mobile devices like the HP Elite x3, Universal versions of apps like Microsoft Word are used on mobile devices, but the ability to run full versions of desktop apps will be especially handy for business users, since many of them rely heavily on Windows at work.

The capability will reportedly come via x86 emulation on ARM processors. Today, you can get a full desktop experience on Windows 10 Mobile, but only through remote-desktop services like Citrix.

The ability to run full versions of Windows apps could be a precursor to the creation of a Windows Surface phone, ZDNet suggests. But as we found with the Elite x3, typing and formatting a document in Microsoft Word on a small screen, even with a scaled-down version of that app, was a difficult task.

But if the Surface phone connects to a laptop dock and/or a desktop dock, this evolution could really pay off and make Windows 10 Mobile highly relevant in the next stage of the smartphone wars.