Inscrit le: 11 Sep 2010
|Posté le: Jeu 23 Déc - 03:23 (2010) Sujet du message: Microsoft bringing Windows to ARM chips
|At CES next month, Microsoft will reportedly unveil a full-featured version of Windows that runs on ARM processors--a big departure from the x86 architecture.
Bloomberg, which broke the news this afternoon, reported that sources familiar with Microsoft's plans said this version of Windows will continue to work on x86 processors, but that it should improve battery performance on devices like tablets and other devices that use ARM processors. Additional confirmation of Microsoft's plans came from The Wall Street Journal, which added that this new version will not be available for another two years.
Microsoft declined to comment.
Microsoft already has a version of Windows called CE that runs on ARM, however it's been designed for embedded systems. This version is also able to run on x86, Hitachi SuperH, and MIPS. Additionally, there's a version called Windows Embedded Compact 7 that's been built for tablets and other small devices. However, that does not quite match up feature-to-feature with a full-fledged version of the desktop OS, which this new version is said to do. Microsoft first introduced Windows EC7 as a public technology preview back in June.
ARM has remained the dominant architecture in small electronics devices like cell phones, both for its processing power and power efficiency--two things that have led to faster electronics with longer battery lives. PC makers like Dell have even dabbled with including ARM processors within PCs, as a way to provide instant-on capability for users who don't mind using Linux to do things like check e-mail or fire up a quick Web page versus doing a full boot into Windows. Much of this was in response to some of x86's shortcomings. Despite Intel pushing down things like power consumption, while boosting chip speed and the number of cores in product like the company's Atom chips, battery life did not see the same kind of massive gains.
But as far as its move to traditional personal computers, ARM has not gotten there quite yet. In the last year or so there has been a big movement in that direction with products like Apple's iPad, which utilizes an ARM processor and blurs the line between traditional computers and standalone entertainment devices--so much so that some of its features are headed to Apple's Mac OS. There's also Google's Android, which runs on ARM and is in the beginnings of making its move toward the tablet form factor. Worth a mention too is the nascent wow power levelingChrome OS, which is largely being built to be CPU-agnostic.
Also, despite Microsoft's ambitions to get small and powerful tablets into the hands of users several years ago, projects have fizzled due to a combination of high prices, bulky designs, slow performance, and poor power consumption. This was especially true of a range of products dubbed the Ultramobile PC category, which ended up being the precursor to Netbooks (which now face problems of their own).
Rumors kicked up earlier this month about Microsoft previewing an early version of Windows 8 at the company's CES keynote speech, scheduled for January 5. The New York Times had also reported that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would be demonstrating a Samsung-made iPad competitor with a slideout keyboard. Perhaps then, the ARM-friendly version of Windows will not just be another version of Windows 7, but the next major version of the OS instead.
By the time, the device kinks are worked out, AT&T could be launching its own service. And as Donovan points out, if AT&T introduces LTE/HSPA+ handsets, it could very well offer the fastest and widest footprint of ultra fast 4G wireless broadband. Verizon's customers will experience 4G speeds where LTE is available, but dramatically drop down to EV-DO in places where LTE is not available.
The real trick is whether AT&T can execute on its strategy. And a big part of that will be getting the right kinds of devices on its network as quickly as it can to compete against rivals.
But AT&T might have another problem to deal with once it loses its exclusive contract for the Apple wow powerlevelingiPhone. While the exclusive deal for the iPhone has helped AT&T win millions of new subscribers, it's also hurt the company's reputation. Poor network performance has caused the company to place last in customer satisfaction in a recent Consumer Reports survey. Perhaps a speedier network with a wider footprint than its competitors could help it rebuild its reputation.