Intel: Microsoft prepping multiple Windows 8 versions, four for ARM

By on May 18, 2011, 8:00 AM

Update: Microsoft has denied Intel's claims about multiple Windows 8 versions, including a few solely dedicated to ARM processors. Without getting into any specifics, the software giant says the information disclosed by Intel was "factually innacurate" as it's too early in the operating system's development cycle to draw such conclusions:

Intel's statements during yesterday's Intel Investor Meeting about Microsoft's plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading. From the first demonstrations of Windows on SoC, we have been clear about our goals and have emphasized that we are at the technology demonstration stage. As such, we have no further details or information at this time.

Original story is below:

Microsoft will make a few versions of the next Windows operating system, including four versions for tablets and smartphones that use ARM chips. The ARM versions won't run old Windows software but the version for Intel chips will. Renee James, Intel's senior vice president of software, spilled the beans during a conference for investors, according to Bloomberg.

James also noted that there will be at least one Intel version of Windows 8 that will address the tablet and smartphone market. It's not clear what the total number of Windows 8 versions will be, but if what Intel is saying ends up coming to pass, it already seems quite high. It's one thing if Windows comes in multiple editions (Windows 7 had Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate) and a completely different one if these come in x86, x64, and ARM flavors as well, not to mention versions tailored specifically for smartphones and tablets. Oh, and don't forget Windows Phone.

This could get extremely messy and could create challenges for developers when it comes to writing applications and apps for the Windows platform. We hope Microsoft clears all this up at its Professional Developers Conference this year, which is slated for September 13, 2011 to September 16, 2011, or sooner if possible.

Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will support Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. Although a rumor suggests that Windows 8 will arrive on January 7, 2013, we expect that the operating system will ship in time for the 2012 holiday season.

User Comments: 12

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Guest said:

"The ARM versions won't run old Windows software but the version for Intel chips will"

That really sucks

wujj123456 said:

Guest said:

"The ARM versions won't run old Windows software but the version for Intel chips will"

That really sucks

I believe Microsoft will provide tools for developers to migrate applications to ARM. Ideally, it should only be a recompile for most applications.

gobbybobby said:

Bah may as well drop 32bit.

Guest said:

I will be real pissed if Microsoft releases yet another x86 OS.

They swore Windows 7 being the last x86 available, so I'd beat them to their promise.

By all logic, they should have Windows 8 64-bit for Intel/AMD, and Windows 8 32/64 bit for ARM, and that's it.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

I fully support another 32 bit version of Windows, as there are still organizations which are able to upgrade their OS, but not certain hardware/software to having 64 bit compatibility. It's easy to say that others should upgrade, but the same path is not viable for all situations.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This may explain why Windows 8 isn't scheduled to ship in the near future. If it was just slapping a new coat on 7 it would probably be ready. The 'standard' version of Windows is probably good to go, its just getting all these other versions ready and able to talk to each other that is going to pose the challenge.

It appears that they really are trying to release an OS that will span every platform out there. As success is usually gauged by what you're trying to accomplish, even if 8 is a great desktop OS, if they fail with the cross-platform adoption, it will turn users off from adopting a Windows ecosystem.

Given the rate of phone and tablet evolution, by Q4 2012 we'll probably have pretty powerful tablets and phones, with market forces probably arriving at a common set of features that most tablets will have. Some of those phones and tablets will probably have the processing power of the desktops of some people, so the hardware will probably be able to handle whatever is thrown on it (short of heavy gaming or rendering probably), they just need to make sure that the software works.

bandit8623 said:

there is honestly no reason to drop support for x86. 3.5 gigs is still plenty of ram for a normal pc. even a gaming rig. until 64bit games are released more widely it wont happen. 99% of apps u dl/install are still x86 apps.

a x86 apps still will run better on an x86 os for the most part

princeton princeton said:

bandit8623 said:a x86 apps still will run better on an x86 os for the most part


MrAnderson said:

I think it will be some work for developers, but hopefully MS will ease the craziness with basically forcing developers that have not migrated to .NET to do just that. I imagine there will be .NET compilers for VB and C sharp for ARM forth coming. These should be tried and true since MS is knows for eating its own dog food.

Guest said:

Dear Bill Gates,

Your once proud company is now being run by fools, please step back in and take control. They are about to release a new OS when it is not needed OR WANTED by anybody. Windows 7 is barely off and running and they already want people to get rid of it and upgrade again. Microsoft will fall if these loons are allowed to continue ruining it.

We need you Billy, please save your company!

Win7Dev said:

I would think that Windows 8 might have a few unannounced features as of right now. Hopefully more than just a few really. If they provide a flash player, a better task manager, make it much faster, and have better application control I would definitely consider upgrading. As of right now, you can't limit the amount of cpu usage for a specific program, and you can't limit the amount of ram. I'm sure that someone probably has some semi-complicated way to do this, but it should be native. Limiting cpu usage would allow running of background tasks with decent performance, while limiting ram usage would allow there to be several applications open at once without much lag. The page file size would increase, but with ssd's becoming cheaper, and some smaller ones coming out, you could just move the pagefile to the ssd.

Guest said:

>This could get extremely messy and could create challenges for developers when it comes to

>writing applications and apps for the Windows platform.

This is an understatement. The fun has not even begun. Not only will it be messy for developers but I see a lot of potential to confuse consumers and potentially get difficult for their branding. Also if the apps are not portable, why call all versions Windows 8? Why can't they call the newer versions with a new brand name?

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