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Microsoft is working on its own version of the Mac mini

Announced during its annual Build developers conference, the mini-PC looks awesome.

microsoft project volterra mini pc on a desk under two monitors
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft just announced its first desktop mini-PC, and it’s powered by a surprising CPU. Project Volterra, as it’s known, is going to be powered by an ARM “flagship SoC.”

Announced during its annual Build developers conference, the mini-PC looks awesome. The space gray case reminds us of another Arm-based device, the M1-powered Mac mini. No aluminum here though, Microsoft made this case out of recycled ocean plastic.

Oh, and the mini-PC runs Windows 11. It’s not a consumer product, unfortunately, however much you want one. It’ll be sold, or maybe rented, to developers to build Arm apps and support Windows on Arm.

Maybe this could also mean Windows 11 support on the other well-known Arm-powered devices, that of Apple’s M1-powered Macs.

Apple ditched Boot Camp, which let you dual-boot into Windows when the M1 Macs arrived. Being able to develop Arm-native Windows apps might be what’s needed to bring it back.

Of course, development hardware is useless without the tools to run on it. Microsoft also announced a full end-to-end Arm-native toolchain, so developers can make native Arm apps. It includes:

  • Full Visual Studio 2022 & VSCode
  • Visual C++
  • Modern .NET 6 and Java
  • Classic .NET Framework
  • Windows Terminal
  • WSL and WSA for running Linux and Android apps

Microsoft says a preview of the devkit’s tools is coming “in the next few weeks.” That’s also when developers can find out how to get the Project Volterra development hardware.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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