Computex Demos Show WinRT Progress

2012-Jun-07 | Tags: analysisnvidiaqualcommtexas

Windows on ARMWhile Windows 8 was just about everywhere at Computex, a few vendors also championed upcoming tablets running WinRT, essentially Windows 8 running on ARM-based processors. What I saw in demos from Nvidia, Qualcomm, and TI was clearly not finished, but it was quite impressive and revealed interesting tradeoffs compared with Windows on traditional x86 architectures.

WinRT is an exciting concept. It takes the Windows 8 experience and moves it onto the ARM architecture, but still looks pretty much like Windows 8. Developers who create Metro user interface applications should be creating applications that work on both Windows 8 and WinRT. The environment does have a desktop, just like in Windows 8, so the basic operating system functions, such as file management, are very familiar. Traditional desktop applications, however, will not work, with the promised exception of a version of Microsoft Office that is supposed to be bundled with the OS. (None of the prototypes have Microsoft Office yet, so it's impossible to judge that.)

Qualcomm Windows ARM tablet

Still, what I did see was impressive. The environment itself seems to work quite quickly, and the machines look responsive at running Metro apps and browsing webpages using Internet Explorer 10. The chip makers didn't let reviewers run benchmarks, making it hard to evaluate exact performance, but for a lot of tasks, results looked quite responsive.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT