This is no doubt the most important announcement of this year’s CES: the next version of Windows will exist in an ARM version as well as x86/x64 versions. A revolution in the world of PCs is on its way. With the multiplication of SoCs (System on Chip), the explosion of their capacities and the new usages which result (such as tablets), Microsoft could no longer ignore them.
Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer unveiled a strategy which will consist in providing a version of the next Windows optimised for both ARM and x86 SoCs, which will mean that AMD and Intel on one side and Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and plenty of others on the other, will be fighting for the same terrain: PCs.
Of course, all the software and drivers will have to be adapted to support the ARM version, which will require a considerable amount of work for all the players on the market, justifying Microsoft’s early notice on this forthcoming support. Microsoft itself will be porting Office and all the other smaller Windows applications.
Indeed Microsoft already has a version of Windows running on ARM. This one is still basic and is based on Windows 7, but works, as we were able to observe in the demo on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, Texas Instrument’s Omap and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2.