Key manufacturers have Windows 8 computers, tablets and smartphones in the works, with developers expected to receive a stable build of the OS compatible with advantageous ARM architecture as soon as February.
There are a number of benefits in running Windows 8 on an ARM chipset. The most attractive is pricing as a cosmetically identical unit would cost far less than an Intel equivalent.
“The bigger implication is, with [Intel-based] Ultrabooks you’re popularizing the idea that you have this thinner design that turns on faster, that lasts longer–but then you have Windows 8 on ARM that’s built at a price point that’s much lower. And does all of those things too. This is setting up the Ultrabook to head right into the teeth of their [ARM] competitor,” the source continued.
Initially, ARM was believed to be lagging behind with its compatible Window’s 8 offering due months after Intel’s, however it now seems both companies could go head-to-head with same time releases. Currently Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Nvidia are the largest suppliers of ARM chips, with two of them developing stable architecture operating Windows 8.
Concerns on ARM’s ability to handle Microsoft legacy applications, such as Microsoft Office, still loom, as their rival Intel are quick to point out.
“I’m not aware of any third-party legacy applications running on Windows 8 on ARM,” an undisclosed source said to GSMArena. “Of course, some of the Metro apps that Microsoft has demoed will be available on ARM. These are mostly HTML5 apps.”
With Apple and Google’s application ecosystems thriving, Microsoft knows it needs to pick up its app game if it’s going to prove threatening.