There is currently a lot of confusion around Windows 8 with it being rumoured that ARM tablets won’t have access to the traditional desktop.
This is a rumour to take seriously as it comes from the generally well informed American journalist Paul Thurrott who is close to the Microsoft world. The best of both worlds in Windows 8? This may now be the case for tablets based on the ARM architecture.
Until now, Microsoft has made it known that the same Windows 8 user experience would be available to all, independent of the hardware – with the traditional desktop to be side by side with the Metro interface.
The demonstration of the preliminary version of Windows 8 in September was performed on a Samsung tablet, and it was possible to see both of these interfaces present, with the tablet operating on Intel architecture. Paul Thurrot now reports that tablets powered by ARM processors will only have the Metro interface made available.
This will have side ranging implications as applications offered for such tablets will only have to be designed for Metro, and therefore it won’t be possible to run these applications on standard Windows desktops.
The situation is even more confusing as Paul Thurrott can’t say whether Microsoft will also be abandoning the support of such applications for laptop computers powered by ARM. Such messages certainly remind us of the statements made by a manager at Intel, which Microsoft scoffed at, when he indicated that the ARM version of Windows 8 wouldn’t be able to run old Windows programs.
Journalist Mary-Jo Foley – who has reported her colleague Paul Thurrott’s information – writes that in any event, this will pose problems with the way existing Windows x86 – x64 applications are executed, with developers having to rewrite their applications for ARM devices.
For her, if Paul Thurrott’s information is confirmed, she believes that Microsoft with their ARM powered Windows 8 tablets will be a more credible alternative to the iPad.