Windows 8 Appears to be Running Happily on ARM CPUs
April 13, 2011 1:44 PM
Surprise! Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 preview was gracefully running an ARM CPU, unbeknownst to the audience. Microsoft employees let this little secret out later at the conference.
Watch out Intel and AMD, power efficient ARM processors will soon be able to run Windows
At CES 2011, Microsoft Corp. (
) CEO Steve Ballmer showed off an early build of a next generation Windows operating system
running on an ARM architecture CPU
. This week at Microsoft's
MIX Developer Conference
in Las Vegas, the company gave developers a surprise Easter egg -- a
preview build of Internet Explorer 10
and its underlying version of Windows were running on a 1 GHz ARM processor.
Samsung Electronics (
), Texas Instruments Inc. (
), Qualcomm Inc. (
), NVIDIA Corp. (
), and other ARM chipmakers have all been hard at work cooking up power savvy multicore offerings, which would be perfect for a netbook or notebook.
Versus similarly clocked x86 processors from Intel or AMD, ARM processors would likely squeeze out an hour or two of extra battery life. While die shrinks and the ever-rising leakage current may eventually largely negate this advantage, in the short term ARM presents the first compelling consumer alternative to x86 in decades.
Windows 8 is expected to
insert Microsoft's Ribbon UI element
into more locations, including Windows Explorer. It is also expected to have deeper touch integration and tie together the PC version of Windows with the Metro UI that Microsoft developed for the defunct Zune and Windows Phone 7.
But the addition of ARM support is perhaps the most anticipated feature.
While ARM currently offers power advantages, how compelling a buy Windows ARM portables will be still remains to be seen. By offering base Windows support, including access to its Office suite and other enterprise tools, Microsoft makes ARM accessible to the everyday consumer.
But exactly how far Microsoft is able to go with its compatibility efforts remains to be seen. If Microsoft can add ARM support for the Direct X and sound libraries, for example, it would be a relatively trivial exercise for developers to recompile their executables for ARM-architecture Windows 8 computers.
Microsoft makes the
world's most used development environment
, Microsoft Visual Studio. By adding tools to make it quick and easy to switch from x86 to ARM builds, Microsoft could make applications compatibility complaints largely a moot point.
Likewise, if Microsoft can embed an ARM-specific virtual machine in the OS with an x86 emulation layer, it might be possible to run native x86 apps, as is, without recompilation. This would be helpful in cases where a company didn't have the source and the application developer was unresponsive or unwilling to make the change. Implementing the same sort of system to provide ARM emulation in x86 Windows would be even more helpful to ARM, because it would allow developers to effectively target the more efficient ARM architecture, while ignoring x86.
Ultimately the question also still remains how low Intel can price its options and how big the true gap in power efficiency will be. Unlike in the past, Intel may now find its pricing ability hindered by
new international scrutiny
that prevents it from resorting to anti-competitive arrangements to try to stomp out pesky rivals like ARM. But the exact picture is unclear.
Even more unclear is the
fate of Microsoft tablets
. Even if ARM takes off in the notebook space, it may do little to help Microsoft sell Windows tablets, with Apple and Android so deeply entrenched. In that regard, Microsoft may find that it's just given ARM a free ride to major expansion. If that's the case Microsoft's customers should still reap minor gains -- a positive for the company -- but Microsoft itself may not make significant in-roads in its market expansion hopes.
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Microsoft Outs Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview
April 12, 2011, 12:27 PM
Windows 8 Early Build -- Explorer is Built Around Office 2007-like Ribbon
April 5, 2011, 12:03 PM
ARM's Tudor Brown says Microsoft Needs ARM to Grow in Tablet Market
January 7, 2011, 11:14 AM
Microsoft's Ballmer: ARM? There's a Windows PC OS for That
January 6, 2011, 1:30 AM
FTC, Intel Reach Settlement; Intel Banned From Anticompetitive Practices
August 4, 2010, 1:45 PM
Microsoft releases details of Project Scorpio console
April 7, 2017, 7:50 AM
More Security Issues for Yahoo
February 16, 2017, 7:45 AM
Android Instant Tethering Only Works for Pixel and Nexus Handsets
February 13, 2017, 7:30 AM
WhatsUp with WhatsApp?
August 29, 2016, 5:23 AM
Fuchsia – Google’s New Open Source Operating System
August 17, 2016, 6:30 AM
Windows 10: End of an Era & A New Beginning
August 1, 2016, 9:59 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Galaxy Note 8 – Available Second Half 2017
Apr 28, 2017, 7:30 AM
Google Android App – Huge improvement on Nighttime Photography
Apr 27, 2017, 7:40 AM
Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has an Airship
Apr 26, 2017, 6:43 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information