The premature demise of Windows 8 on ARM, courtesy of Intel’s Medfield

2012-Apr-25 | Tags: analysiscompatibilityinteltabletversusx86

Windows on ARMOther than the death of the Start button and the Metro UI, the single biggest change in Windows 8 is that it’s now a fully paid up member of the touch-first ARM ecosystem. After 20 years of being x86-only, this tectonic shift was triggered by two key factors: ARM is cheaper than x86, and it’s also more power efficient.

With smartphones and tablets enjoying meteoric sales, and the x86 PC market stagnating, Microsoft doesn’t really have a choice in the matter: Embrace cheap, mobile computing, or perish.

Windows ARM Tablet

But then along came Medfield, Intel’s first x86 SoC, with performance and power characteristics that are comparable to the Cortex-A9 parts found in almost every smartphone and tablet on the market. It has been said numerous times that Chipzilla, with its monstrous profit margin of around 25%, could never price its parts to compete with ARM manufacturers — but judging by the price of the Xolo X900 ($420), the first Medfield-powered Atom phone, it seems Intel is finally ready to play ball.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT