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Microsoft dropped a bombshell at CES today, announcing that the next version of the Windows OS will run on ARM processors. The company stated that Windows for ARM will run on SoC (System on a Chip) architectures and will support hardware accelerated web browsing, media playback, and peripheral support on par with standard x86 Windows.
The move is aimed at extending the Windows experience to new devices. ”Windows PCs will continue to adapt and evolve,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in his keynote. “It means Windows will be everywhere on every kind of device without compromise.” The company showed off demo units running a future version of Windows (but with the user interface from Windows 7) on ARM chips from Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments.
The ARM-powered machines were running just Internet Explorer 9, Office for ARM, and an Epson printer driver. The Nvidia Tegra 2 demo box, however, was nonetheless impressive, smoothly playing the Iron Man 2 trailer in 1080p and running the IE9 HTML5 demos without any hiccups.
Read on for more details about Microsoft’s ARM announcement, and see our Smartphone Processor Guide for more information about ARM’s SoC processor architectures.
Smartphone manufacturers these days boast of their phones’ computer-like capabilities, from desktop-like internet browsing to HD video playback. They toss around spec sheets filled with processor names like ARM11, Cortex A8, Snapdragon, Tegra, OMAP, Armada, and more. What do these all mean, and how do the various chips compare? That’s what we’re going to take a look at today. More >