Bloomberg broke news this week of a new version of Windows that will work on both x86 devices with chips from Intel and AMD, and, for the first time ever, on devices using chips from ARM Holdings, makers of the low-powered chip technology found in smartphones and other tablet computers.In case you missed it (and how's that rock treating you?),
Windows on ARM?
The story, in short, goes like this: Microsoft will debut a new product at January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which is a version of Windows designed for battery-powered devices like tablets and handhelds. The new operating system will allow Microsoft to compete on the tablet front where it has been losing ground to competitors, most notably the Apple iPad, which uses ARM chips, and Android devices, which also often use ARM chips, too.
Not only will the new software work on ARM, it will continue to work on devices using Intel and AMD's chips, the chips powering PC versions of Windows. In other words, it's a more modular version of Windows.
Coming in Two Years, Says WSJ
A second story, sourced by The Wall Street Journal, says that the technology will be announced at CES, but won't be available for two years. This has led to speculation that what we're going to hear about is a new tablet-friendly, mobile-friendly version of Windows, perhaps Windows 8.
But don't hold your breath, says CNET's Brooke Crothers: "Windows on other platforms--such as outside of Intel's x86--has not fared well...Full-featured versions of Windows--what used to be called Windows NT--ran on PowerPC, MIPS, and Alpha processors. However, support for all three platforms was phased out. While certainly ARM holds more promise for Microsoft than DEC's Alpha technology ever did, it doesn't mean that Windows will necessarily be successful on ARM."
Over on Ars Technica, Peter Bright says this news just doesn't make sense. "...battery life isn't the thing standing in the way of widespread acceptance of Windows tablets. The user interface is the problem. The user interface has always been the problem," he said. "If Windows had a proper touch interface, nobody would care about the architecture it ran on."
POLL: What's Microsoft Announcing at CES?
So there you: news, rumors and opinions. Now your turn. Are you buying this rumor? What do you think Microsoft is announcing at CES? And head to the comments if you want to tell us more than the poll allows!