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Microsoft Windows Technology

Microsoft Details Windows 8 for ARM 372

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-the-scoop dept.
MrSeb writes "In an 8,000-word treatise, Steven Sinofksy himself has taken up pen and paper to describe Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) in great detail. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but one point is particularly troubling. Quoting Sinofsky: 'WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all [WOA] software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.' It's hard to under-emphasize just how huge a change that is. It's one thing to say that ARM CPUs won't support x86 emulation; something else entirely to split software delivery and installation. Up until now, one of the biggest differences between desktop and mobile operating systems has been the ability to install software. It's true that Microsoft's decision to wall off unapproved software installation is similar to the approach of Android and iOS — but iOS isn't the same thing as OS X. Combining both of these decisions under the 'Windows' brand could be disastrous, not because Microsoft is evil, but because it creates two entirely different user experiences on the basis of which ISA your CPU supports."
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Microsoft Details Windows 8 for ARM

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  • Please, (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday February 10, 2012 @09:56AM (#38994397)
    May we have the old Borg icon back for this story?
    • Re:Please, (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:04AM (#38994451)

      Sorry, the Borg only operates on x86/64 machines

    • Why? So far t his is just the ARM version. It sounds more like they just are going the cheap route, and not fulling integrating the ARM version with their Intel version.

      Basically to my thinking:
      A) Other Win8 versions have these features, then this is laziness. No borg icon warrented.
      B) All Win8 versions lack these features (then why the big deal about the ARM version?), then this is a closing of the walls intentionally for a purpose. Borg icon deserved.

      • Re:Please, (Score:5, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:38AM (#38994729)

        ...this is laziness. No borg icon warrented.

        Maybe a slacker borg with an arm replaced by a bong: "Dude, where's my cube?"

      • Re:Please, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:54AM (#38995579) Journal

        Why? So far t his is just the ARM version. It sounds more like they just are going the cheap route, and not fulling integrating the ARM version with their Intel version.

        Basically to my thinking: A) Other Win8 versions have these features, then this is laziness. No borg icon warrented. B) All Win8 versions lack these features (then why the big deal about the ARM version?), then this is a closing of the walls intentionally for a purpose. Borg icon deserved.

        There is another possibility: Microsoft has massive legacy commitments. Practically all the world's boring corporate stuff that isn't old, specialized, or hip, enough to be running on some sort of intimidating big iron or linux/web/cloud/thingamawhatsit. Most of that software is absolute dreck, and rather boring, but much of it is also quite critical to a variety of high value operations and impossible or uneconomic to port or even modify very much. For this reason, Microsoft's walled-garden options on x86/64 are pretty minimal. Architecturally they could roll it out tomorrow(Software Restriction Policies are basically that, but under the control of your domain admin); but the customers that matter would scream like nobody's business.

        However, since there isn't any legacy Windows software or legacy Windows device drivers, on ARM, since it has never run on ARM before, there is no legacy market to worry about. Microsoft has a free hand, more or less. As with the xbox, the other recent situation where MS started clean, without legacy impediments, they apparently see a walled garden as their best option.

        It remains to be seen how long the momentum of more-or-less-open x86 IBM compatibles will carry them into the future; but so long as the legacy/in-house/custom demand is there, they'll be hard to kill entirely. However, I'd say that it is "outlook not so good" for open platforms any time somebody starts a new one from scratch...

        • Re:Please, (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DickBreath (207180) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:28PM (#38996027) Homepage
          The problem with Microsoft's new walled garden is that they have an already entrenched walled garden competitor: iOS.

          They also have an entrenched open competitor: Android.

          Windows on ARM is just Microsoft's PS/2 like attempt to recreate its monopoly on the new platform where all the excitement and momentum already is. It's not that Microsoft's existing Windows platform doesn't also have momentum, but that is already in a very long slow decline and Microsoft knows it. (I hope they know it, since the decline of PC sales and thus Windows sales was in their quarterly report.)
        • Re:Please, (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:18PM (#38996703)

          It remains to be seen how long the momentum of more-or-less-open x86 IBM compatibles will carry them into the future; but so long as the legacy/in-house/custom demand is there, they'll be hard to kill entirely. However, I'd say that it is "outlook not so good" for open platforms any time somebody starts a new one from scratch...

          I don't think the in-house and custom software is going to save anything, because the large majority of new business applications have the application itself running in the data center and the users access it through a web interface. And legacy software is replaced by new stuff the more time passes.

          But I don't think the future is as bleak as all that, for different reasons. The largest impetus for closed platforms comes from the wireless carriers who want to make sure you aren't doing anything as unscrupulous as making a VOIP phone call over WiFi without paying them for minutes, and who subsidize your phone and in so doing become the "customer" of the device who gets to decide how open it is.

          Here's the thing: I expect that inside of five years, flip phones are going to be almost completely dead. Tomorrow's top end Android handsets will still be ~$500, but today's will be $50. Some handset maker who still has a tooled factory churning out "obsolete" phones will realize that with nothing more than a software patch, they can sell them retail as WiFi-only devices that still make phone calls and browse the 'net as long as you're at work, at home, at school or anywhere else that has WiFi. The poorest customers will quickly realize that $50 or $100 once is much less expensive than $50/month indefinitely, even if it means they can't make calls in their cars, and many will do that. The carriers will then realize they're getting $0/month from these customers and that if they offered a cheap bring-your-own-device plan, they could be making $20 or $30/month from customers who by and large don't actually tax the cellular network because they use WiFi 90% of the time, and a big chunk of those people will pay that so their phones will work in their cars etc. And so will a big chunk of the people who had been buying subsidized phones, who realize that $500 once + $30/month is a lot cheaper than $200 once + $100/month. (The savings for everyone comes from the fact that you're taking a massive load off of the cell towers and putting it on DSL and cable lines where adding bandwidth doesn't require outbidding everyone else for finite wireless spectrum.)

          With any luck that will be the end of carrier device subsidies and with it the end of locked boot loaders etc. Even the carriers seem to be looking for a way out [slashdot.org] of subsidizing premium devices for most of their customers. But do that and you open the door back up for innovation: Once people no longer need carrier approval to sell Android and other Linux-based devices that work away from home, you have the possibility of things like the Spark tablet or whatever Canonical feels like producing start to take hold, which can easily be made to run both Android apps and Linux native apps, and you can see the possibility of an open platform gaining a sigificant foothold. Not to mention whatever products come out of Google buying Motorola Mobility.

          If that happens then Microsoft will have to decide whether to go the Apple route and try to keep their ARM platform closed, or stick with their traditional forte and open it up. And I kind of feel like there isn't any room in the market for more than one Apple.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      I say no borg icon, because Microsoft is irrelevant.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      This is a feel sorry for Windows developers article not a Microsoft is screwing people article. Not to say Microsoft developers aren't people. When Microsoft's ARM products come out locked down to only allow Windows to be installed I'm sure /. will post that article with the borge icon.

    • Re:Please, (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:19AM (#38995201)

      May we have the old Borg icon back for this story?

      No, the old borg icon had the Bill Gates face, a guy that since then has saved millons of lives. He deserve a better icon.

    • Re:Please, (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 10, 2012 @01:06PM (#38996549) Journal

      Actually I have a better choice, one that fits their boneheaded moves of late. Picture this, Steve Ballmer with his tongue out wearing an "I Heart Apple!" beanie, since every damned thing that monkey has done has been a "me too! oh oh me too!" for at least the past five years. lets look at this shall we? Hmmm...locked down OS, App store, making everything go through corporate....where have I see this before? Could it be...I don't know....iPad?

      For all those zealots that think I'm some sort of "M$ Ninja" being paid to sell MSFT crap let me blow their perception bubbles apart...Windows 8 is gonna be the biggest flop since Bob, not even Vista failed as badly as Win 8 is gonna fail, its a touchscreen desktop when less than 0.2% of the world's desktop and laptops are actually being sold with touchscreens, and when a 17 inch touchscreen is $300 and a 25 inch widescreen monitor is $150 that isn't gonna change between now and release in Oct, and NOBODY is gonna want a Windows 8 ARM device that looks like Windows but doesn't actually run Windows programs! All this is is the exact opposite of what they have tried and failed with for a decade. remember how they made WinMo look like XP, right down to the start button? remember how it flopped? Well now they are just gonna take the WinPhone UI and slap it on the desktop! How fricking stupid can you get, did Apple slap iOS onto the Mac? NO of course not. Why? Because the devices have completely different inputs therefor requiring completely different UIs! this is OS 101 stuff people!

      So fear not FOSS lovers, this isn't the 90s and a year after Win 8 launch you'll be able to find this crap in the bargain bin right next to the Zune and kin and Vista boxes in the "shit nobody wants even when its cheap" section. I sell to normal people, the 99% of the population that aren't geeks or power users, just average folks. So far i've shown Win 8 to nearly 200 people and do you know how many positives I've gotten? ZERO. The closest i got to a positive was this exchange: Why that looks like a nice cell phone, is that Android? i heard its really nice...what do you mean its Windows? Windows what? Why that is just stupid! Why would I want a cell phone on my computer?" and out of the mouth of Ms Pipkin comes wisdom. Everyone who sees it thinks its a cell phone and everyone who tries it quickly becomes frustrated because without a touchscreen its about as fun as trying to control your phone using nothing but a keyboard.

      so no SuricouRaven we don't need the Borg back, the Borg were actually scary. what we need is an icon showing Ballmer for what he is, a biog fricking clown of a CO with an Apple fetish. Ironic that every time i put Ballmer spellcheck wants to correct it to ballgirl, as that pretty much is what he is, someone chasing after the balls Apple hits.

  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:06AM (#38994479)

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/01/new-kde-tablet-to-liberate-linux-enthusiasts-from-walled-garden.ars [arstechnica.com]

    Suddenly one of these is looking tempting for my tablet needs.

    I did have an ASUS transformer for a few months but I sold it to a friend as I was unhappy with the way Android does things. I have an iPhone and whilst I think iOS is very clever I'm not convinced I would want it in a larger form factor. I want to be able to write code, play with software and be the master of my own system to a level that Android and iOS does not seem to happy with. I was wondering is an ARM Win8 tablet was the way forward - but this seems to rule of that option :(

    I admit some Linux bias as I only use it at home and coding on it (armel linux) forms a large part of my job as well.

  • by laffer1 (701823) <`luke' `at' `foolishgames.com'> on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:09AM (#38994505) Homepage Journal

    It's scary that you have to get drivers through the windows store. That means you could never get some new arm hardware running with windows as a hobbyist or try some third party driver when the default crashes. It also means that it might be harder to upgrade windows on some devices as microsoft could block you from getting drivers for the current windows release.

    The ARM port is truly a hardware lock-in. I hope it fails.

    • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:39AM (#38994749)
      Drivers are the largest problem with x86 Windows - well over 50% of the stability problems and blue screens come from badly written drivers. Microsoft has a process to submit a driver to their labs for testing and approval today - but (a) they make it insanely difficult and expensive, and (b) the market doesn't care whether a driver is approved or not.

      Drivers are also the largest security hole there is - a kernel module has full and complete access to your system. People claim to be concerned about security, but then install third party drivers without a second thought.

      Overall, it looks like Microsoft is doing exactly what people have been asking for - a more secure Windows environment. Locking down software to approved sources only, and getting rid of creakingly old APIs that date back to Windows 3.1, will make it faster, more stable, and more secure - but now people are complaining.

      Note that for the hardware/software developers - hobbyist or professional - there will be a developer switch, to turn off security and allow you to load unsigned/unapproved programs and drivers.
      • Drivers are also the largest security hole there is - a kernel module has full and complete access to your system.

        Then perhaps Microsoft should expand its own user-mode driver framework instead of running all drivers in kernel mode and monopolizing their distribution. At least under Linux, device classes with user-mode drivers include printers (CUPS), scanners (SANE), video (X), and even installable file systems (FUSE).

        • by Chokolad (35911)

          > At least under Linux, device classes with user-mode drivers include printers (CUPS), scanners (SANE), video (X), and even installable file systems (FUSE).

          Imagine that, most of this is also running in user-mode in Windows.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      Agreed. It is a light at the end of a tunnel playing the evil Windows start up jingle.

  • It's hard to under-emphasize just how huge a change that is.

    I've heard that phrase before, from MS. Last times they've said that, they couldn't release and the product flopped.

    When is their release date again?

  • Fracturing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:11AM (#38994523) Homepage

    Y'know, for all I hear about Linux being so fractured, I'd expect to see more coherence from Microsoft and Apple.

    The vast majority of distros differ in small ways, but they all work with mostly the same paradigms. To install software, you usually install a package from a repository. To add something not in the repositories, it's usually "./configure; make; make install".

    Looking at the Windows world, there's worse fracturing, but because it's all under one brand, it's somehow okay. Inter-process communication is done with DDE - no, wait - OLE. I mean sockets. Really .NET has its own IPC and you should use that now. On one system, you install with an executable file obtained from the vendor. On another system, you install through a storefront.

    At least Linux accepts that it's fractured, and each distro often learns from the others.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027)

      Inter-process communication is done with DDE - no, wait - OLE. I mean sockets. Really .NET has its own IPC and you should use that now.

      So should a UNIX program use pipes, X11 Inter-Client Exchange (basis for DCOP), Bonobo, or DBUS?

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:11AM (#38994525) Homepage
    The value of Windows is the huge legacy software collection that it runs.

    A "windows" platform that cannot run that software base is basically a new platform. Starting from scratch. Sort of like a new version of Linux, or Hurd, or something new.

    Microsoft may port their own apps. Great. But what about third parties?

    There is .NET, of course. But apps written in .NET would be fairly new apps. What about apps written in older languages? Some apps may be trivially recompiled. Or recompiled after significant effort. But some apps may be slightly or even deeply wedded to the x86 and maybe x64 architectures.

    Other apps may be wedded to legacy languages that may not get ported. Will Microsoft be porting Visual Basic 6? Visual FoxPro? What about Delphi? Etc.

    Even if a developer can fairly trivially build their app for WOA, why would they if there is not a large user base on that platform ready to fork over money? The developer has to expend effort (eg cost) today on a platform where customer demand may not materialize. If WOA doesn't run an end user's favorite legacy applications, then why would the user want to migrate to WOA? It's cheap and easy to buy a desktop or laptop running legacy Windows that is familiar and runs your legacy apps.

    WOA has a chicken and egg problem. Which came first? The large number of third party apps / developers supporting WOA? Or the large end user base running WOA?

    Furthermore, a developer who expends effort to port their product to WOA, even if "porting" is little more than a trivial recompile and repackaging, and tracking new SKU's, that developer will want to be compensated for that additional effort. You can bet that developer will want top dollar (eg price gouging) for that new WOA edition of their product. Do you really think you'll see a $99 Photoshop on WOA? Also don't expect a free upgrade to the WOA edition of your current application.

    WOA may be Microsoft's counterpart of the PS/2 moment. The market may "just say no" (as they say in the '80's). The problem with PS/2 was that it was nothing more than an attempt to recapture IBM's monopoly using a new platform. That is what WOA is. Microsoft wants their legacy monopoly on these new mobile ARM platforms, just as IBM wanted their legacy mainframe monopoly in the PC market.

    Another problem is that these new platforms are fundamentally different. They bring things that legacy PC's don't have deeply baked into the system and applications. Android for example can support both the legacy keyboard / mouse setup as well as touchscreen and voice commands. Those pesky new PC's offered a lot more than a mainframe terminal had, such as mouse and GUI. Oh, and cheap software, just as the new platform app stores offer pretty cheap apps.

    Want to see WOA go exactly nowhere? There's an app for that!
    • The only way OEMs who are making Windows 8 phones and tablets can save themselves - and in the process Microsoft as well - is build their phones around Fusion, Medfield and any other x86 compabible CPUs that anyone might make. That way, ISVs can at least make an attempt to allow their Wintel titles to be installed on tablets, and as far as phones go, ISVs might allow client sides of client-server apps to be supported on Windows 8 phones.

      For instance, lets say a company has SharePoint running on its serve

      • Even if they did all you say, which I generally agree with, I don't think it would save them.

        The basic problem is that Microsoft has recognized that the world is, in fact, really, changing. But they have recognized it far, far too late.
    • To add to my argument (parent post), I would like to add . . .

      Both iOS and Android are already entrenched. WOA is starting out with zilch third party software. Android has 200 million installed base and 700,000 activations per day (or 8.1 per second). WOA isn't even reality yet.

      As others point out, what about drivers? How are you going to get third party device drivers for WOA? (Of course, in fairness, this question could be asked for Android and iOS as well. But I think expectations of an iOS /
    • WOA has a chicken and egg problem. Which came first? The large number of third party apps / developers supporting WOA? Or the large end user base running WOA?

      I think WOA is actually an attempt to avoid a future chicken-and-egg problem. As I said in another post, the current trend in computing is heading towards convergence of personal computing and mobile computing. No smartphones or smartphone-derived tablets currently have any real quantities of desktop-replacement apps. When the convergence comes, whichever OS has the most productivity software (as it was referred to way-back-when) will have a massive advantage.

      In order for this to work, Microsoft don't ne

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        No smartphones or smartphone-derived tablets currently have any real quantities of desktop-replacement apps.

        I totally want to run Word on my phone.

        • There already are multiple "office suite" type apps for Android. They do not pretend to be Microsoft Office replacements. But they are re-thought for the new mobile format. I believe the current "office" type apps on Android are only the beginning of the evolution of these apps, not the endpoint.
        • I already run google docs.

      • I strongly agree with your point about convergence of desktop and mobile. I just believe Windows isn't the OS that will bring it.

        Your point is well made about lack of significant numbers of desktop-replacement apps. But then, neither does WOA. If Microsoft is making developers have to re-think their app, their UI, and perhaps their development tools, and how they even get their product marketed and delivered to the consumer, then maybe those developers will recognize that they can equally re-think all
        • If Microsoft is making developers have to re-think their app, their UI, and perhaps their development tools

          The app and UI can be completely the same. WOA supports the Windows Explorer and thus the Desktop, so it's not always metro. You can application can look exactly as it does on x86. In terms of developer tools, I don't know. Many .Net developers might just be able to select the ARM compiler flag and go. There are a lot of apps that would instantly be available for WOA if this is the case.

          and how they even get their product marketed and delivered to the consumer

          They can market their product same as always. Distribution has to be through the Windows Store so that would be the only b

  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:11AM (#38994527) Homepage

    You don't like these new terms? Well then don't fucking buy it then. I fail to see the outrage here... Sounds exactly like the Apple walled garden approach.

    • You too are missing the point: Microsoft is selling Windows 8 and Windows 8, general end-users only see "Windows" and obviously assume that one Windows works as the other Windows does. It will be fiendishly confusing for the general populace. If Microsoft is going to make the two different versions so very different from eachother it might have been a good idea to sell the ARM-version with a completely different brand-name.

      • My preference would be to see Windows 8 devices have no distinguishing marking to differentiate between x86 / x64 devices and ARM devices. An Asus Transformer like device that has an ARM processor, that Jane Q Public thinks will run her existing legacy Windows software. Yeah, that will go over like, um, well, like a PS/2, or like a lead balloon.
    • by tepples (727027)

      You don't like these new terms? Well then don't fucking buy it then.

      So what should one buy instead of this product if Microsoft starts suing Android tablet makers for patent infringement?

  • Let it begin... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:13AM (#38994549)

    Whenever the first tidbits of the UEFI secure boot cropped up that many people immediately cried foul over, I was one of the people who stood up and said "Not so fast, everyone - it's mandated that it be enabled by default, but there's nothing to say you can't customise it or disable it". Many people were quick to jump on MS, stating that it's just to stop Linux adoption and such and still I persisted in saying that MS wasn't the bad guy, if you didn't have an option to disable UEFI secure boot, it was the OEM or motherboard manufacturer at fault, not MS. I got into many heated debates about this point.

    However, that was regarding Windows 8 x86/64.

    Windows on ARM will demand that UEFI secure boot be enabled and that there is no way to disable it. Any Windows ARM tablets or PCs that come out will not be capable of running anything other than Windows - not Linux, not Android, nothing. Since Windows ARM won't be sold directly, it means there will be absolutely no way to buy a Windows ARM machine that runs other OS's - not even if you built one yourself.

    It is with this that I retract any previous objections to people crying foul over the UEFI Secure boot malarkey. Even though Windows 8 x86/64 is still "fine", the issue of the ARM version is too great to ignore. So by all means, commence flaming.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      vote with your cash.

      I will.

      honestly though I'm surprised they're even going to allow regular "desktop" and programs on the arm windows, I genuinely thought they would just go through shitty windows phone/zune type of system there to avoid fucking up the windows brand.

      now back to installing virtualbox to run some legacy os to run some obscure modelling program..

      • How do I vote with my cash? By not being able to buy the computer I want because there is an operating system forced down my throat?
    • Sure, it's foul. It's Microsoft, what do you expect? However since this product is highly likely just to wither and die with a wimper I do not think the damage from Microsoft's latest insult to you, me and the rule of law will be extensive or long lasting.

  • I have some serious issues with their software distribution method. I'm seriously considering boycotting Windows 8 entirely - unless forced to use it.

    The new metro interface is useless for desktops and laptops, and the one area where it would shine - tablets - is going to be crippled from my perspective.

  • by slim (1652) <john@nOspam.hartnup.net> on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:22AM (#38994629) Homepage

    Install Windows/ARM on a RiscPC [wikipedia.org].

    Acorn's machine had a 486 or 586 as a co-processor, so that RiscOS could host DOS apps running on their native processor.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:25AM (#38994645)
    Windows 8 on ARM will be an even greater disaster than NT 4.0 on any of the RISC platforms - Alpha, MIPS or PPC - ever were. NT/AXP at least had some presence in the workstation place and at least made an attempt to run Wintel apps via FX!32, but this platform won't even try running Wintel apps, which is what everybody understands Windows apps to be. I'll predict that Windows 8 on ARM will simply kill Windows, since there will be no way for Joe Q Public (i.e. NOT your average /. reader) to tell which box will run their accumulated Windows apps, and which ones won't. Microsoft won't even be able to go BACK to Wintel 7 after that.
    • by 21mhz (443080) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:25PM (#38995983) Journal

      I'll predict that Windows 8 on ARM will simply kill Windows, since there will be no way for Joe Q Public (i.e. NOT your average /. reader) to tell which box will run their accumulated Windows apps, and which ones won't.

      Why, it's easy: here's a desktop box, it can run all your crufty Win32 stuff written in 1998 like it ever did (but we gently encourage you to switch to the new apps which are oh so much more shiny). Here's a sleek tablet, now this runs Windows 8 "Tablet Edition" or whatever they'll call it, and you only install apps from the walled garden.

      As to getting enough apps in the garden, it's hard to tell. There is already a growing marketplace of applications for Windows Phone, and that's reportedly going to converge with WinRT by Win8/WP8, becoming effectively a subset of the APIs available for the "big" Windows. I got a Nokia Lumia 800, and I was astonished to find high-quality apps provided by my bank, the local newspaper I read, and my IPTV provider. This being in Finland, perhaps they consider Nokia's large presence on the home market inevitable. But it shows that given enough confidence in the new platform, getting useful applications written for it is no big deal really.

    • by xigxag (167441) on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:55PM (#38996357)

      Why are uninformed FUD comments like this getting modded up? The blogpost clearly states that WOA devices will be unequivocally labelled to strongly distinguish them from traditional x86/64 devices.

      WOA is not an attempt to replace Windows with a gimped version of itself. It's meant to be another member of the Windows family, like Windows Server, Windows Phone, etc., that extends the basic Windows paradigm to devices where it does not have significant market share. It is basically a rearchitected Windows CE that takes into account the rise of iOS.

      iOS is derived from OSX, but you wouldn't expect to run an OSX application on iOS. So Joe Q Public is already primed to the idea that top-tier desktop applications won't run on WOA, and from reading the article, it seems that the marketing of the tablet devices will make that abundantly clear. Windows 8 Desktop is the successor to Windows 7 and WOA is something different, a competitor to iOS that has a Windows-esque look and feel.

      Where WOA claims to have an advantage over iOS is, first, that it will allow users interact with the device with a traditional desktop paradigm, if they choose. Secondly, WOA apps, unlike iOS apps, will be also able to be run on your traditional desktop/laptop, making for a much more integrated total experience. And thirdly and most importantly, MS Office.

      However, if the concept of being able to "up-run" your tablet apps on your desktop proves fruitful, there's no engineering reason why Apple couldn't do the same thing. And of course, once Apple did do it, suddenly up-running your apps would be the most awesomeish thing ever.

  • People don't buy an iPad expecting to be able to run Mac OS software (okay, some might), so it's just a matter for Microsoft's marketing division to come up with a brand that identifies WOA as being related to Windows but not quite the same thing. That's their problem though.

    There'll always be an x86 Windows that can run x86 software. The introduction of a separate branch of Windows doesn't change that.

    • http://www.asymco.com/2012/01/17/the-rise-and-fall-of-personal-computing/ [asymco.com]

      I'm not holding funeral services for the PC just yet.

      Eventually the traditional PC will be gone. Not that we won't have comfortable workstations with big screens, keyboard and a mouse. It's just that the platform, and especially its OS will be different. And that screen will be a touchscreen. And it will also have voice recognition.

      In particular, look at those graphs in the article. They tell quite a story. Consider that
    • by robmv (855035)

      iPad is not called MacBook. People will read Tablet with Windows 8 for ARM and will think perfectly a Windows version I can run on my arm an not on my desktop, now I can run all my applications on the move with a trendy tablet. Do you plan to train all those people in what is a microprocessor architecture and why one can not run applications for the other ones. MS should use another or fail, If the XBox was called Windows Gaming Console it could have failed

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:28AM (#38994667) Homepage

    Consider the fact that there are no mass market ARM-based desktop PCs. It's not like Dell is offering a low-end dual CPU ARM offering and Microsoft is doing their best Montgomery Burns impression at the suggestion that it be given a full desktop. Personally, I am not sure I'd want a Windows 7-like UI on a tablet (not sure I'd want Metro either, but that's beside the point).

  • by Alkonaut (604183) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:29AM (#38994675)
    So it has little in common with "Windows". This won't be what you use to run "Windows" on your new arm ultraportable. This is what you use when you run some metro-esque OS on a tablet.

    The difference between Win8-ARM on a device/appliance is to Windows on a laptop/desktop what iOS on an iPad is to MacOS on a macintosh laptop. All this talk about walled gardens aside, I can see the point of having a very protected environment for computers that are appliances more related to my toaster than they are to my old desktop computer. I don't want to care about device drivers when Win8 runs in my TV, phone or tablet. It must just work, even if it means I can't install my old applications. If I want a computer where I can do anything I want, I get a computer. In this case that happens to mean my computer has to be x86 and my appliances have to be ARM. So be it. It almost certainly was going to be that way for the foreseeable future anyway.

    I can't really blame microsoft for making this decision. They don't want to wall in windows users, they want to win over some iOS users with iPad. Maybe on Win9 or Win10 we'll do all our computing in the walled garden. But lets cross that bridge when we get ther.

  • by ledow (319597) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:34AM (#38994711) Homepage

    So it's Windows CE then?

    Thanks for the clarification but I'd suspected that all along. Windows is only "Windows" on your PC. No change at all, to anything, then.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Friday February 10, 2012 @10:40AM (#38994755)

    I could be wrong, but the preview shot I saw of Windows 8 with the missing "start" button makes it look like Microsoft is trying to do the same thing as Canonical.

    I'm guessing neither org wants to look like it has the same old frumpy desktop.

    If that doesn't work, Canonical is only 1 6 month release away from going back to something more PC and keyboard friendly. Microsoft on the other hand will have a much harder mess to clean up from.

  • This is part of an emerging pattern in which consumers are sold restricted systems with enforced toll collection. Cory Doctorow refers to this as "the coming war on general-purpose computing" [boingboing.net]. His analysis is thought provoking. It is disheartening to consider how may technologies with security benefits can also be used to restrict the rights of customers.

    • well you can't go to far as lot's of old software is still out there and locked down app stores may end up with 1st amendment issues.

      Now it's on thing to lock down carp apps that just crash all the time but it's a other to do content bans.

      Also there may need to be more then 1 app store / a 100% free for dev's way to push out free app's.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:08AM (#38995071)

    But if you develop your apps in WinRT, the same code will be able to compile into ARM or x86. I don't see a big deal, honestly. It's not like it will take developers extra work, since .NET and the JIT compiler should handle that workload. In fact, it makes Windows a more appealing development environment because you're hitting multiple platforms, form factors, etc... all with a single set of code.

    But correct me if I misread.

  • WOA will likely be for iPad knockoffs and the like. MS is just making a "AppStore" for those types of users. Heck Win 8 will have access to the "AppStore" on windows 8 as well making it an identical experience as the appstore on the OS X Lion. MS is really really trying to push apps so they can catch up to Apple on cool factor, can skim a percentage of everything and can have all the joy of being a gatekeeper for the platform. Their trying to make the arguement "why wouldn't you target WinRT and get everyon

  • FTFS:

    It's hard to under-emphasize just how huge a change that is.

    This literally means it's difficult to describe this change to make it sound less important than it actually is.
    I believe you mean the opposite, that it's hard to over-emphasise (ie: make it sound more important than it is; because it's so important)

  • by guidryp (702488) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:55AM (#38995587)

    I am failing to see why anyone would get an WOA tablet.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5365/intels-medfield-atom-z2460-arrive-for-smartphones [anandtech.com]
    Summary Medfield is running in similar power envelope to an ARM SoC, but with faster benchmarks.

    ARM might get you marginally more battery life, but Medfield gives you full backward compatibility.

  • by Glasswire (302197) <glasswire.gmail@com> on Friday February 10, 2012 @12:02PM (#38995669) Homepage

    Anyone who's been paying attention realizes that MSFT was engaging it's traditional Apple-envy by trying to create a MSFT iOS tablet experience (we create, you consume and buy) with WOA. Despite (at least on boot) laying Metro on both, REAL Windows (x86) is very different and can be used to do creative tasks.

    MSFT wants what Apple has:
    APPLE: OS/X on x86 (general purpose computers) to create apps for ARM iOS (device OS) phones and tabs
    MSFT: Win on x86 to (general purpose computers) create apps for ARM Win8 (device OS) tabs (phones later)
    The money is in the consumption devices, so you focus on making sure the general purpose devices (computers running a real OS) have the tools to rapidly build app product for the devices.

    Imagining the ARM ver of Windows be a thriving creative equal of x86 is typical Slashdot wishful thinking. A new, CHEAP fast, open platform that doesn't drive additional revenue isn't in any major player's interest and isn't going to happen.

    You've got amazingly cheap and powerful x86 architecture that acquired a gigantic open ecosystem in spite of what the big players have wanted. Appreciate and protect this anomaly while you can.

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