Microsoft Windows 8 on ARM: Ready for Showtime?

2012-Apr-04 | Tags: analysisbusinesscompatibility

Windows on ARMAs we head toward the availability of Windows 8 in Q4, the amount of information available about X86-based platforms dwarfs that of ARM-based platforms from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. One example is the Consumer Preview (CP). The Windows 8 CP on X86 (Intel/AMD) was and still is openly available for any consumer on the planet to try, without exaggeration.

In contrast, there's Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) where, without an NDA, no one can even touch a system. There can be a few reasons for that, including secrecy, the unique ARM software images required, it just isn't ready yet, or a combination of all. With approximately six months until launch, is Microsoft ready for Windows 8 on ARM?

Let's take a look at a few areas.

Software Compatibility

Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) platforms will run any newly developed Metro-based application and come pre-installed with MS Office, sans Outlook. The platforms will not run older software like a game like a Disney's ToonTown, a personal finance package like Quicken or even Apple's iTunes.  How will consumers know what they can and cannot run?  Microsoft will have to notate a difference between operating systems (WOA versus X86), train and market it so it's not a liability.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT