Of course, versions of Windows for ARM processors already exist in the form of Windows CE for embedded systems and Windows Phone 7 for touch-enabled handhelds. Microsoft kind of painted itself into a corner with the name of the latter, though, so my initial thought is that they’d show a tablet-optimized version of their phone platform under a different name. But the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the release might not ship for another two years, which has sparked speculation that this may be a more full-featured version of the desktop OS rather than a port.
As you probably already know Microsoft has a new version of Windows coming out in 2012. Rumors say it’ll run two interfaces: one supported by high-end notebook and desktop PCs and the other by less powerful systems doing more basic tasks. So maybe Windows 8 will support both x86 and ARM architectures and we’ll see some early form of it at CES. Then again, Microsoft rarely shows pre-alpha platforms at this type of events so take that with a grain of salt.
Whatever the case, this is certainly not the vote of confidence Intel needs as it fiercely tries to gain a stronger foothold in the handheld segment through acquisitions and developing more power-efficient Atom chips.