Feeds

Microsoft embraces ARM with Windows 8

Breaks Wintel fidelity

SANS - Survey on application security programs

CES 2011 Microsoft's next version of Windows will run on ARM systems using system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.

Microsoft announced its platform diversification for Windows 8 during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. Windows 8 is expected sometime in 2012.

This is the first time a version of Microsoft's sacred Windows client will run natively on ARM. In the past Windows Embedded CE ran on ARM, while Microsoft's built an $18bn annual business putting the full Windows client on PCs running x86 from Intel and AMD.

Also planned is a version of Microsoft's ubiquitous Office productivity suite that will run natively on ARM. Office is Microsoft's second major money spinner, generating up to $18bn annually.

Conscious of the fact that it's breaking 32-years of fidelity with the Intel architecture, Microsoft padded Wednesday's news, saying Windows is not completely abandoning Chipzilla clients.

Intel, along with AMD, will continue to evolve and improve the x86 platform with low-power systems new designs, such as Intel's second generation Core processor family and AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs), Microsoft said Wednesday.

But the move to ARM primes the planned Windows 8 client to appear on a range of small, thin, and low-powered mobile devices with increased battery life.

ARM's been a long time coming for Microsoft, though it has dodged the issue when grilled in public. The jump to embrace ARM SoCs should mean a fresh lease of life and licensing revenue for the Windows franchise and opportunity for OEM partners.

Microsoft's been taking flack for years now over the potential death of the Windows PC, an Intel- and AMD-dominated institution, against the backdrop of explosive growth in mobile and devices. Microsoft has also been grilled for failing to respond to the popularity of Apple's iPad tablet.

Last year, chief executive Steve Ballmer more or less apologized to investors for slipping up on tablets, and promised "it is job-one urgency" to deliver Windows tablets against Apple.

Windows 8 on ARM should finally mean an exciting new range of tablet computers from Microsoft partners that actually challenge Apple.

The first generation of Windows 7 tablets are generally clunky. And Windows 7 is built for keyboard and mouse use – not multi-touch input, which is limited.

Multi-touch input and the ability to run on a slate are among Microsoft's goals for Windows 8.

The downside for Microsoft and Windows partners and fans? The expected 2012 delivery of Windows 8. The date means OEM partners must continue to work within the limitations of Windows 7 for at least a year and use Intel's Oak Trail Atom processor if they wish to challenge Apple's iPad.

ARM means greater ubiquity of devices, but that's a year off.

Microsoft said support for SoC in the next version of its planned Windows 8 client would enable industry partners to design and deliver the widest range of hardware ever. Windows and Windows Live Division group vice president Steven Sinofsky announced the news at a press conference at CES, where he was surrounded by machines using SoC. During the event, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 8 on ARM and x86 netbooks running chipsets from old friends AMD and Intel.

Microsoft promised standard Windows staple features on SoC, such as hardware accelerated media playback, hardware accelerated Web browsing with the latest version of its Internet Explorer browser, support for USB devices, and the ability to print.

CEO Ballmer is expected to provide more details on his company's ARM conversion during the opening CES keynote later on Wednesday. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Apple patent LOCKS drivers out of their OWN PHONES
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you text that
Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola
The part that Google never got will play ball with Redmond
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.