Microsoft Bringing ARM-Based Windows to CES?
Some strange tales are circling the tech industry lately. Several reputable sources say that Microsoft might be changing Windows so it will run on ARM processors, and the company will reportedly show this off at CES next month. Is this part of Microsoft's strategy going forward?
The reason this has caused such a large uproar in the tech community is that Microsoft Windows is inherently incompatible with ARM-based processors, the same kind that are used in most phones and tablets. In order to run Windows on ARM processors, Microsoft will have to make extensive changes and write new hardware drivers.
Bloomberg reported that Microsoft is doing just that, and Microsoft is expected to give a glimpse of this at CES in January. The Wall Street Journal supported that report, but said it would be a full two or more years before the technology was ready.
So why would Microsoft go to so much trouble? In a word: Tablets.
So far Windows 7 tablets haven't been a huge success, and things aren't getting better quickly. Most other manufacturers have been choosing ARM processors because they use less power and are perfectly compatible with Android.
There are some who disagree with this rumor, though. Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley's sources indicate that Microsoft would take another route to get into the mobile devices game sooner. She says Microsoft is likely to release a new version of Windows CE/Embedded Contact, which has already been shown to run on ARM-based tablets.
It's also possible that both predictions are correct, namely that Microsoft uses Windows CE in the near future and ARM-compatible Windows in two years or so. Either way, it's clear that Microsoft wants to get more tablet options out to consumers as Windows 7 tablets flounder. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft has anything to demo at CES.