.NET Native is an upcoming technology that can make .NET applications run with the performance of C++ applications. This preview technology is currently limited to Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 apps and can only be used on Windows 8.1 while targeting x64 or ARM architectures.
Normally, applications are compiled into MSIL and then JIT-compiled into native code at runtime. If .NET Native is enabled, then an additional step takes place which compiles the MSIL into native code through the Visual C++ optimizer.
You can download .NET Native from the .NET Native homepage; after that, enabling .NET Native compilation is simply a matter of ticking the “Compile with .NET Native tool chain” checkbox in the project’s Build properties.
As I mentioned earlier, .NET Native only applies to a very limited set of application types. Let’s hope that in future its benefits might be extended to a wider range of applications (e.g. desktop applications).