A $219 Windows on Arm PC is finally available for developers

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ECS Liva Mini Box QC710 Desktop now available on Microsoft Store

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Developers, historically, have had somewhat limited options when it comes to testing apps for Arm on Windows. They usually require buying expensive Arm devices like the Surface Pro X, which $899.99. starts with, Microsoft and Qualcomm aim to lower that barrier to entry with new ECS Liva Mini Box QC710 Desktop, a smaller Snapdragon-based PC now available at the Microsoft Store for $219.

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The QC710 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c Compute SC7180 (instead of the first-generation Snapdragon 7c, the second-generation chip announced by Qualcomm earlier this year). It comes with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage as well as various expansion ports including USB 2.0 Type-A, HDMI, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB Type-C, and a microSD slot.

In other words, it’s not a high-end rig that will replace the Mac Mini or other fully fledged desktop. It’s specifically intended for developers testing Arm 64 apps at an affordable price point (apps that consumers can certainly run on fancier devices like the Surface Pro X). It’s also something you could probably lug back and forth at the office that weighs just over half a pound.

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There are currently only a handful of Arm-based Windows PCs and Chromebooks available, as high-profile releases slowly move into the consumer space. Qualcomm’s second-generation Snapdragon 7c, announced in May, currently powers Lenovo’s $429 Duet 5 Chromebook and Samsung’s $349 Galaxy Book Go. But app compatibility is still a gamble, an obstacle for many potential buyers. Microsoft and Qualcomm have no doubt that the availability of the $219 developer kit will help build an ecosystem of Arm64-compatible apps — though that remains to be seen if that comes along.

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