Intel CEO Paul Otellini has hinted that his company plans to offer Windows 8 on smartphones. After announcing that 2010 was the best year for the chip maker, given that the company reported full-year revenue of $43.6 billion and $11.7 billion in net income and a record fourth quarter, Otellini was asked his views on Microsoft's decision to have Windows 8 support the ARM platform. First, he downplayed the ARM announcement, but then explained that Windows running on system-on-a-chip platforms was also advantageous for Intel.

"The plus for Intel is that as they unify their operating systems we now have the ability for the first time, one, to have a designed-from-scratch, touch-enabled operating system for tablets that runs on Intel that we don't have today; and, secondly, we have the ability to put our lowest-power Intel processors, running Windows 8 or the next generation of Windows, into phones, because it's the same OS stack," Otellini said. "And I look at that as an upside opportunity for us. On the downside, there's the potential, given that Office runs on these products, for some creep-up coming into the PC space. I am skeptical of that for two reasons: one, that space has a different set of power and performance requirements where Intel is exceptionally good; and secondly, users of those machines expect legacy support for software and peripherals that has to all be enabled from scratch for those devices."

We hope that Otellini did not really mean his company would put Windows 8 on smartphones. It is very interesting, however, that he described the next version of Windows as "designed-from-scratch, touch-enabled operating system for tablets." Either way, Intel and Microsoft are very important partners, and somehow we think the two will figure out how to get the next versions of Windows running on phones, tablets, and PCs powered by various types of Intel chips.