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Microsoft ARM support CES presentation  (Source: DailyTech)
Windows support for ARM architecture will help Microsoft grab market in smartphones and tabelts

One of the big announcements from Steve Ballmer’s keynote was that Microsoft would be making a version of Windows that would run on ARM processors. This is a big deal for Microsoft, which has traditionally worked very closely with Intel/AMD with x86-based processors. 

The x86 architecture is seen as inferior to ARM in some markets like the important and quickly growing tablet and smartphone market where long battery life is an important requirement. With Microsoft stating Wednesday at CES that it would bring the Windows OS to market for ARM chips; it is an acknowledgement that Microsoft plans to grab for a bigger slice of the tablet and smartphone market with its software.

Today ARM's Tudor Brown told Reuters that support for ARM processors in Windows would help the software giant get a big foothold in smartphones and tablets.

Brown told Reuters, "With Microsoft, for some time it's been more a question of when, not whether, and finally it's now. We've been coaching and cajoling Microsoft for some time."

ARMs architecture is licensed to major players in the tablet and smartphone market like Marvell and Qualcomm, which are the companies behind some of the most popular processors in the smartphone market.

Brown added, "Microsoft needs ARM to have any chance of playing in that [tablet and smartphone] space." 



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RE: understatement
By omnicronx on 1/7/2011 1:41:13 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks captain obvious, the smaller instruction set is the main reason why ARM chips are so efficient, but that the same time is the main reason why they are very slow in comparison.

Having a smaller instruction set hardly makes ARM better than X86.. It just makes them better for low power situations.

X86 is still in the area of 5-6x the performance gap at the same clock frequency as ARM chips.. So it clearly still has the performance advantage in this arena..

Both have their advantages and disadvantages (for example binary file sizes are always larger on RISC based cores) , but I would hardly say that x86 is inferior to ARM.


RE: understatement
By Solandri on 1/7/2011 2:08:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
X86 is still in the area of 5-6x the performance gap at the same clock frequency as ARM chips.. So it clearly still has the performance advantage in this arena..

The thing is, we've long passed the point where performance was the driving factor in most people's computer purchases. The enthusiasts still want the 4 GHz room heaters, but almost all regular people just use their computers to browse the web, write letters/emails, and manage photos. Their needs can easily be met by a low-end x86 or high-end ARM, and they're increasingly shifting away from desktops to laptops/netbooks. So the power usage at idle (for longer battery life) is becoming the more important stat.


RE: understatement
By omnicronx on 1/7/2011 2:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
I can't say I disagree, although as ARM chips raise in clockspeed, X86 chips may find themselves more comparable when clocked lower.

i.e a 2ghz ARM variant may perform on par and have the similar power usage to a lower clocked x86 variant. If that were to happen, performance per clock starts to mean something again ;)


RE: understatement
By Taft12 on 1/7/11, Rating: 0
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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