Windows 8 on ARM

Windows 8 Release Expected in 2012 article says that Windows 8 will be with us in 2012. Windows 8 Features And Release Date article expect Windows 8 to be launched sometime in mid-late 2012. For details how Windows 8 looks take a look at Building “Windows 8″ – Video #1. For latest details check also Microsoft Newsroom on Windows 8 and Windows-ARM.Com.

The biggest changes in underlying technology is that Windows 8 is supposed to run on either the x86 or ARM architectures. Microsoft is in the process of rebuilding Windows for the post-PC era, by stepping back from its core roots (Intel processors) and embracing ARM. Windows-on-ARM Spells End of Wintel article tells that Brokerage house Nomura Equity Research forecasts that the emerging partnership between Microsoft and ARM will likely end the Windows-Intel duopoly. ARM-based chip vendors that Microsoft is working with (TI, Nvidia, Qualcomm) are now focused on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).

Making the Windows to run other platforms than x86 seems to be a big change, but this is not the first time Microsoft has tried that (there has been once Windows NT for DEC Alpha and still Windows Server 2008 for Itanium). ARM is now hot and Microsoft is active pushing Windows 8 to use it. Sinofsky shows off Windows 8 on ARM and Office15 article tells that Windows boss Stephen Sinofsky has ended months of speculation with the first (fairly) detailed drilldown into Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) platform, and says it should be ready for a simultaneous launch with its x86/64 counterpart. WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. WOA is, as Sinofsky said, “a new member of the Windows family,” but it’s not Windows 8. It’s entirely new, and because it works only on ARM devices. Windows on ARM software will not be sold or distributed independent of a new WOA PC. In other words, WOA is to Windows as iOS is to Mac OS X.

Devices running WOA will come with both a Metro touch-based interface and the more traditional desktop, and will run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote applications with full document compatibility with x86/64 systems. One thing was made crystal clear by Microsoft: Windows 8 on ARM will not be the same experience as Windows 8 on Intel-AMD.


How the two flavors of Windows 8 will be different article gives some details how Windows 8 on ARM is different from Windows 8 on X86. Windows 8 on ARM will not be the same experience as Windows 8 on Intel-AMD.

Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture article from Building Windows 8 blog is a goldmine to all you who are interested in more details on Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) platform. This post is about the technical foundation of what we call, for the purposes of this post, Windows on ARM, or WOA. WOA is a new member of the Windows family, much like Windows Server, Windows Embedded, or Windows Phone.

WOA builds on the foundation of Windows, has a very high degree of commonality and very significant shared code with Windows 8. Many low level details needed to be rewritten, but there is a significant portion of Windows that is generally built with code that can be made to work on ARM in a technically straightforward manner. These subsystems include the Windows desktop and applets and supporting APIs, though those needed to modified for better resource and power utilization. Enabling Windows to run well on the ARM architecture was a significant engineering task.

Here are my collection of the most important points I found from How the two flavors of Windows 8 will be different and Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture articles.

Windows 8 ARM devices will run on ARM processors from Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, and Nvidia, all running the same Windows OS binaries. WOA PCs use hardware support for offloading specific work from the main processor to integrated hardware subsystems to improve performance and battery life. ARM SoCs for WOA have DirectX capable GPUs (DX) for accelerated graphics in Internet Explorer 10, in the user interface of Windows, and in Metro style apps. WOA PCs are still under development, and thee goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64.

Windows 8 on ARM will not run traditional Windows 7 stuff (WIN32 x86 applications) because the processor is completely different and WOA will not support any type of virtualization or emulation. WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps.

Labeling to “avoid confusion”: When a consumer buys a Windows on ARM PC, it will be “clearly labeled and branded” so as to avoid potential confusion with Windows 8 on x86/64. Device makers work with ARM partners to create a device that is “strictly paired with a specific set of software (and sometimes vice versa), and consumers purchase this complete package, which is then serviced and updated through a single pipeline.”

Windows on ARM devices don’t turn off: You don’t turn off a WOA PC, according to Sinofsky. WOA PCs will not have the traditional hibernate and sleep options. Instead, WOA PCs always operate in the Connected Standby power mode, similar to the way you use a mobile phone today. Read Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks for more details.

WOA supports the Windows desktop experience including File Explorer, Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop. Out of the box Windows on should ARM will feel like Windows 8 on x86/64. Sign in, app launching, Internet Explorer 10, peripherals, the Windows desktop and Windows Store access are the same. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer if you want to use your mobile device in this way. Or you can use the Metro style desktop and Metro style apps (like what you see on Windows phone smartphones) if you like that more.

Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64. Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps) using the new Visual Studio 11 tools in a variety of languages, including C#/VB/XAML and Jscript/ HTML5.


Together talking on launching Windows 8 Microsoft also talks about new Windows Mobile Phone 8 and it’s integration with Windows 8. Windows Phone 8 Detailed article gives some details what integration with Windows 8 means. Windows Phone 8 won’t just share a UI with the next-generation desktop and tablet OS, apparently: it will use many of the same components as Windows 8, allowing developers to “reuse most of their code” when porting an app from desktop to phone. The kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support as areas of heavy overlap.
Windows Phone 8 is the version of the platform currently being referred to by codename “Apollo” (the one scheduled for deployment after the upcoming Tango update). Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott has published a post confirming many of the details.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows surprise: the Start menu does not return

    Microsoft still does not bring back the Start menu in Windows, such as is expected.

    Windows 8.1 upgrade will give Start button like button (which is not the same as old Start button). There you have the opportunity to review all the applications installed on the device and sort them by name, date of installation, the use of the number, category and more.

    Research firm Gartner estimates that Microsoft is trying to clearly address the Windows 8 user interface involved in the complaint.

    “The overall test is not a bad thing. Also make mistakes is not bad. But it is a very bad thing, if you do not listen to customers,

    “Microsoft will need to get people to use the new user interface. They are trying to force it to people, what did not work. Restoration of the old user experience would be likely to leave the new user experience and apps too much to hide,” Silver says.


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  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows ‘Blue’: Microsoft blows it

    The forthcoming preview of Windows 8.1 is full of minor adjustments that do almost nothing to fix what’s really wrong with Windows 8

    If you like Windows 8, you’ll like — maybe even love — Windows 8.1 “Blue.” But if you’re a denizen of the old-fashioned Desktop world, without a yearning for touch and/or you don’t want your PC to act like a smartphone, Windows 8.1 will disappoint — big time.

    The Start button that isn’t and other minor Desktop changes
    Unless you live in a Faraday cage, you already know that Windows 8.1 will have a Start button. If you’ve read past the first sentence in the gushing announcements of that “victory” for users, you also know that the Start button isn’t anything at all like the Start button in Windows 7 (or XP, for that matter).

    Right now, in Windows 8, if you click in the lower-left corner of the Desktop, you’re sent to the Metro Start screen. In Windows 8.1, if you click in the lower-left corner of the Desktop, you get sent to the Metro Start screen. The only difference is that Win8.1 will have a visible Start button, not the invisible version used in Windows 8. I guess somebody at Microsoft figured the presence of a Start button would mollify the 1.4 billion people who click on Start and expect to see a Start menu. The returned Start button is definitely is not the Start menu that people really miss.

    The bottom line: Windows 8.1 “Blue” is more of the same nonsense
    There’s a lot coming down the pike in Win8.1, but it’s mostly more of the same, now piled higher.

    If you thought Microsoft would suddenly realize it was alienating the world’s largest installed user base and thus backtrack on some of its more controversial Win8 decisions, you’d be dead wrong. Windows 8.1 clearly reiterates Microsoft’s vision of a Jekyll-and-Hyde operating system, with hardly a nod to traditional Desktop customers.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Windows Red can fix Windows 8: The right strategy for Microsoft

    Inside InfoWorld’s proposal to rescue Windows 8 and fulfill Microsoft’s promise to deliver a modern computing experience on both PCs and tablets

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows RT Facing Same Fate as webOS?,23161.html

    The upstream supply chain is chattering to DigiTimes again, this time comparing Microsoft’s Windows RT ARM-based variant of Windows 8 with HP/Palm’s doomed webOS platform. They say that most brand vendors have already stopped developing RT products, leaving Microsoft’s second-generation Surface RT the only tablet in the works based on the struggling OS.

    The news arrives after Microsoft confirmed that it plans to sell Surface RT tablets at $199 to K-12 schools and higher-education institutions. The plan was announced prematurely

    Microsoft also just recently announced that Outlook 2013 RT will be joining the other Office apps in Windows RT including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It will be part of the free Windows RT 8.1 “Blue” update planned to be released later this year.

    Sources claim that despite these two factors – along with dropping Surface RT prices in Japan – demand for Windows RT products won’t be high.

    On the smartphone front, Microsoft is reportedly facing a similar issue. Acer, Asus and ZTE have supposedly started putting their Windows Phone 8 device development on hold

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft Builds a Friendlier Windows 8.1 at Developer Conference

    Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference is taking place this morning in San Francisco (you can watch it live here). It’s a showcase for Windows 8.1. It’s about making Windows more productive, more efficient and, in many ways, more fun.

    There are also major new features and apps, some of them really really cool and others that are flat out useful. It has built in support for 3D printers now. You can seamlessly sling audio and video to your Xbox. You can use Miracast to connect to all sorts of screens without wires. It has greatly enhanced security features

    But the overarching thing Microsoft has done with its 8.1 release is improve the overall end-to-end experience.

    This is Microsoft listening, evolving, and growing its next generation operating system. It’s clear that the company has finally realized we’re in a new modality now — one where Microsoft software has to appeal to consumers as much or more than it does IT managers. It’s speeding up its learning curve and release cycle.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft highlights start button return at Build

    The start button will be back in Microsoft’s next Windows release, though it’s not the feature it was before Windows 8.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows 8.1 Could Become What Windows 8 Should Have Been

    Microsoft recently announced some features of the new user experience included in Windows 8.1 including Start button functions, the ability to boot to the desktop and Internet Explorer (IE) 11. Microsoft has not yet disclosed other features, but said that Windows 8.1 will be a free update from Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is expected to ship in time for holiday device sales.

    Michael Silver and Steve Kleynhans, vice presidents in Gartner’s client computing team, provide analysis and recommendations on what organizations should look for in the Windows 8.1 update in today’s analyst guest post

    After Microsoft unveiled Windows 8, the newly introduced user experience was criticized.

    Based on the information currently available, we believe Windows 8.1 features could quiet most of its detractors.

  9. Tomi says:

    Windows 8.1: So it’s, er, half-speed ahead for Microsoft’s Plan A
    A desktop failure gambling on slablet success

    Following approximately one year after the release to manufacturing of Windows 8.0, which incorporated some radical changes, based around a new tablet platform running alongside the traditional desktop environment, Windows 8.1 is a critical release.

    Most Windows users have not warmed to the platform variously called Metro, Modern or Windows Runtime.

    Moves like replacing the familiar Start menu with a Start screen and putting essential features like Shutdown in a somewhat hidden Charms menu were confusing and added little value to users without touch screens.

    Neither has the new app platform been a storming success, with a shortage of high quality apps. Desktop users have been puzzled by the chunky, blocky graphics which characterise the Modern platform and which look out of place on large screens controlled by keyboard and mouse.

    Microsoft’s task with Windows 8.1 is to make the operating system more accommodating to users with no interest in Metro, while also improving the tablet side to inject some life into the struggling Modern app ecosystem. Although that seems a big ask, it is worth noting that Windows 8.0 shares the same core code as the well-regarded Windows Server 2012

    If Windows 8.1 is judged by its desktop features, it will have failed. Here at Build, it is clear that Microsoft’s strategy remains centered on the Modern platform. You can say I suppose that this is now version 1.1 rather than 1.0, and it is considerably refined.

    Delivered as part of Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer 11 supports WebGL, a standard previously opposed by Microsoft on security grounds, enabling hardware accelerated graphics in the browser without a plug-in. DRM support for web video means that sites like Netflix can also deliver content without a plug-in.

    An eye-catching addition to Windows 8.1 is integrated support for 3D printers. The effect is that applications will be able to support 3D printing directly, rather than users having to run a dedicated application for each printer.

    SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, is now baked more deeply into Windows. Many settings are stored in SkyDrive and roam to other Windows 8 machines which use the same Microsoft account.

    The future of Windows remains hard to predict, but 8.1 is a big improvement and makes the first release feel rough and ready in comparison.

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  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows 8.1 is ready for its October 17th release

    Microsoft has finalized its Windows 8.1 update. Sources familiar with the company’s Windows plans have revealed to The Verge that the software maker completed the development of Windows 8.1 earlier this week — stamped as build 9600 for Release to manufacturing (RTM). The completion of the 8.1 development comes just over a month after the company promised to finalize the software in “late August.” Providing there are no final bugs that require the 9600 build to be recompiled, the final copy will be shipped to PC makers.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Windows 8 is not hip?

    “Is there anyone here that would be upgraded to Windows 8 for work environment?”

    None of the hand of several tens of assent does not rise out of a professor Matti Rossi last week seminar on the public’s question.

    Aalto University professor summed up the situation: if the companies do not want something to say to young people, the future does not look bright.

    Windows 8 operating environment is annealed specifically to the company point of view. The idea of ​​the equipment seamlessly between Windows 8 user experience sounds great, but byodin and cloud era, it may be old-fashioned.

    Stories of the companies that would actually take the benefits out of Windows 8′s philosophy is hard to find.

    Microsoft’s big problem is that the image is so corporate-led. And consumers – not businesses – solve today’s devices of the future.

    Many things would be easier for businesses, if we were able to predict the future winner of the platforms.

    Can Microsoft’s phones then become consumers pets? Redmond giant have to do extra hard work. Marketing people and brand makers requireds erasures of the wisdom of the portrayed old Microsoft.


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