Windows 8 on SoCs

The big news was Microsoft demonstrating Windows 8 running on a variery of SoC platforms at the event. All demos were on development boards, though a final sample board for the x86 Atom based SoC was also shown (to stress the fact that Windows 8 could actually run on 'PCs' on a credit card sized board).

The first demo was on a x86 Atom based SoC (probably Moorestown) running Quicken, stressing the fact that the x86 platform is not something Microsoft is willing to alienate yet.

There were three more ARM based SoC platforms, each of which was used to demonstrate different Windows aspects. The Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset just showed the Windows desktop, while the TI OMAP platform was used to demonstrate the porting of a printer driver. The Tegra 2 platform was used to demonstrate HD video decoding and playback on Windows.

While people may find it impressive that the demo was able to show printing from an ARM based SoC, it is not really surprising given that the drivers for printers have already existed for a long time on Windows Embedded. It should also be noted that the core Windows kernel used to support a variety of architectures such as MIPS, Alpha and PowerPC till NT 4.0.

It is nice to see Windows running on ARM, but is it something that people want to see on systems based on such SoCs? In fact, the only sort of systems where we would like to see this are dockable smartphones similar to the Tegra 2 based Motorola ATRIX 4G.

ARM based SoCs are used for a variety of purposes, and as long as manufacturers restrict running Windows 8 on them only for the appropriate products, consumers should remain happy.

New Windows Tablets and Notebooks
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  • vol7ron - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Looks like the tablet is coming close to replacing the notebook. Of course they still lack power, they are looking a lot more powerful.

    You were in love with the Samsung - I do like the sliding feature - but I'm in love with the Acer's: Core i5 processor, Intel's onboard graphics, 4GB memory, and a 750GB hard disk
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Hp 2740p... have a look (but costs a bt), also has an extended slice battery
  • inaphasia - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Or the notebook could literally "swallow up" the tablet! You wouldn't mind being able to pop the screen off your notebook, would you?

    On their own tabs just aren't good at anything. I mean the smartphone made your mp3 & (pocket) digital camera extinct. Probably your GPS too! That's 3 less gadgets to charge & carry around:D There's the added bonus of being able to watch an episode of something and they are perfect for FB/Twitter junkies!
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    I don't get tablets. - give me a keyboard and a hard cover for the screen to protect it - a notebook, in other words. Give me 320GB of storage, not 32GB.

    Okay I get a Kindle, something like that, something small enough you can hold and read like a book but not too small. $139 for something like that isn't bad. I don't see me ever getting sold on tablets, though. I don't see the tablet replacing the notebook for most people, especially those who actually have a use for one.

  • wolrah - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    While obviously Windows 8 is likely to be a bit away, if Microsoft thinks they can have it running reliably with usable performance on ARM, I'm thinking something like the Altrix that runs whatever version of Windows Phone is out when Windows 8 is released as it's primary OS, then also has a full Windows 8 session for the docks.

    I wonder, however, how they intend on getting support for a new platform in the consumer market. x86-64 is fully backwards compatible, so aside from drivers nothing needed to be updated, and Itanium only exists for a niche market with specific apps. Consumers would be really confused by an environment which looks like Windows but can't run any of their apps. Does this mean we might see fat binaries for Windows?

    There are a lot of questions, but it should be an interesting story to follow.
  • wolrah - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Can't edit, but I had a thought. Windows 8 is also rumored to contain Microsoft's "App Store", so if they have their app store policies either require or heavily prefer either platform-independent apps (thinking Silverlight) or those written in one of the standard .net languages which supposedly can be more easily ported.
  • BugblatterIII - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    A fully-managed .Net app should just work.
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    In all honesty, Windows 7(8) offers us, the consumer, the best of all worlds. All we need now are the appropriate touch screen applications as well as 'apps' to throw away our time.

    Wish list
    - At least 1024x768
    - SSD drive and a fast one at that
    - 10.2" screen
    - fast cpu
    - more than 7 hours battery life

    Enter the HP 2740p, which only really fails on price. I'll be setting the DPI to 125%, desktop icons to large and tweaking the living heck out of the thing. Might also try to see if I can get a build of Windows 7 Embedded standard working well.

    As it stands, Plants Vs zombies is great on a Win7 touchscreen :) (I currently own an Asus R2h and a random oem tablet from China)
  • TareX - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    So if Windows 7 will be coming to Tegra 2 and the like, what's the need for Windows Phone? Why not have the functionality of Windows along with a more mobile-friendly UI? Oh, lagginess.

    It seems that Microsoft is posed to repeat the Windows Mobile experience, once again.

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