Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

Talking to Microsoft about ARM...

One of the most interesting parts of my job is the people I get to talk to. I spent the early part of the week in Amsterdam at the BlackBerry DevCon talking to developers and RIM's own developers and evangelists. I ended up with a fascinating picture of a company in transition, and just how many major changes it's having to make...

While we were there we got an email from a US PR contact offering us a phone conversation with "someone interesting" from Microsoft talking about Windows. As it was getting close to when we we'd be expecting to hear about the release of the consumer preview of Windows 8 we put two and two together and said yes. There's be a NDA, but that was fine, as an embargo gives us time to transcribe recordings and write copy.

A short while before the call we had another email telling us who we'd be talking to, and what it was about. We were right about who, but wrong about what. It was going to be a conversation with Steven Sinofsky, the man driving Windows, but it wasn't going to be about the consumer preview, at least not directly. Instead we'd be talking about a topic that had been a bone of contention among the coterie of Microsoft Watchers on Twitter: Windows On ARM.

Then came the hassle of dealing with a delayed flight out of Schipol (an A320 that took as long to load as a 747) and a taxi drive across west London to out home. We came in through the door a couple of minutes after the call was due to start and dialled in...

...and here's the news story I wrote for ZDNet UK.

On Thursday, Windows president Steven Sinofsky described in a blog post how Microsoft is developing for Windows On ARM (WOA). He outlined the changes it is making to support the processor family and its associated devices, which are new to Windows, via a common WOA foundation and Windows binaries running on platforms from ARM licensees Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

WOA is "a new member of the Windows family, built on the same kernel, sold as part of the Windows ecosystem for a new class of PCs and a new set of partners," Sinofsky told ZDNet UK in a phone interview.

Devices running WOA will be integrated products built from the ground up for Windows, with support for low-power and new hardware capabilities, including connected standby, according to Microsoft. The company did not say specifically what kinds of devices these will be, but it has strongly hinted at times that they will include tablets and perhaps hybrid keyboard-touch devices.

Sinofsky was reluctant to call the OS an ARM version of the upcoming Windows 8 update. "It’s not a number; it's just WOA," he said. "It's a member of the family — like Server, like Embedded".

Asked about the difference between Windows 8 and WOA, Sinofsky again stressed that the OS is not an offshoot, but an extension of the software maker's development process.

"What we're doing working across multiple ARM platforms is unprecedented," he said. "It's just a new capability, a new level of device, and it's giving the ability to meet the consumer demand for a device that is reliable and performant all over time."

Read the rest and comment on ZDNet.
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