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ARM-Based Windows 8 Notebooks in Mid-2013?

By - Source: Digitimes | B 39 comments

The Windows on ARM platform is expected to make its official debut by 4Q12, followed by the release of actual notebooks in 2Q13.

Unnamed sources within notebook vendors are reporting that the Windows on ARM platform (Windows 8 + ARM-based SoC) is expected to make its official debut towards the end of 2012. Actual products may not enter the notebook sector until June 2013, and will likely be powered by Nvidia and Qualcomm ARM-based processors used in notebooks from Asus, Lenovo and other vendors.

Are there high hopes for a new frontier? That definitely seems to be the case according to sources. ARM-based processor "players" are hoping that the Windows on ARM platform will not only raise their share in the tablet market, but grant them successful entry into a notebook sector currently ruled by x86 solutions from AMD and Intel. There are hopes that the new platform will really take off in 2014 and then become the second biggest platform by 2015.

But as previously reported, the Windows on ARM platform has one major obstacle to overcome: software. Consumers won't be able to whip out their disks and re-install their favorite applications on their new ARM-based Windows 8 notebook. Instead, Metro-styled applications will be developed specifically for the ARM architecture (as opposed to x86) and sold directly from the Windows Store. That said, will consumers want to purchase their favorite applications all over again after dumping loads of money into the x86 versions?

"We haven’t made any product announcements," said Windows chief Steven Sinofsky earlier this year. "The previous demonstrations were always technology demonstrations of the underlying architecture. All of the apps for ARM are going to come through the store which means they’re all going to be metro style."

Despite the software disadvantage, vendor sources said that the Windows on ARM platform will provide strong competitiveness based on its low power consumption and expected low price point. But Intel won't go down without a fight, as it plans to launch its 22-nm Ivy Bridge processors that will consume less power than previous CPUs, have stronger security and a quicker response. The company's Haswell-based processors will reportedly bring even more competition to the Windows 8 generation of low power devices in 2013.

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  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 29, 2011 6:17 PM
    how small and fast will the arm socs be? intel already has 22 nm chips on the way, amd's just got their 32 nm chips out. 2013 is a little late for debut. intel can have a mature ultrabook market by the time arm brings out a notebook.
    and if it can't play crysis...
  • -4 Hide
    croc4 , November 29, 2011 6:18 PM
    Why?, ARM based CPU's fail compared to x86 versions in the performance arena, and we all know how badly the 'netbooks' did, very slow even doing basic tasks, so adding an even less powered CPU is going to work 'better'?, I'm sure the performance will be better than todays versions, but still won't be close to low end x86 cpus. I see fail written all over this
  • -6 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 29, 2011 6:23 PM
    Intel... PLEASE save us from this nonsense. I don't want another wave of low-power craze so that I get to repair/reinstall/tweak all these POS netbooks...
  • -9 Hide
    techguy378 , November 29, 2011 6:26 PM
    Windows performs much better on an ARM processor than it does on an x86 processor.
  • 3 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 29, 2011 6:27 PM
    techguy378Windows performs much better on an ARM processor than it does on an x86 processor.


    Windows does NOT perform on an ARM processor yet, troll, it's x86-only.
  • 2 Hide
    zanny , November 29, 2011 6:34 PM
    de5_royhow small and fast will the arm socs be? intel already has 22 nm chips on the way, amd's just got their 32 nm chips out. 2013 is a little late for debut. intel can have a mature ultrabook market by the time arm brings out a notebook.and if it can't play crysis...


    Kal'el Tegra chips are 45nm, the Wayne series after that in early 2012 will be 28nm, and I expect ~20nm by 2013. They use TSMC for both gpus and socs, while AMD is using TSMC for the radeon 7000 gpus that are on their way.

    croc4Why?, ARM based CPU's fail compared to x86 versions in the performance arena, and we all know how badly the 'netbooks' did, very slow even doing basic tasks, so adding an even less powered CPU is going to work 'better'?, I'm sure the performance will be better than todays versions, but still won't be close to low end x86 cpus. I see fail written all over this


    ARM processors are extremely power efficient, and once you have 4 cores at 2ghz each performance on consumer grade laptops becomes a non issue. I expect by 2015 for there to be a general market of $300 - 500 ARM windows laptops with battery life in the neighborhood of a day under load, and the $1k + market will be dominated by skylake by Intel at 16nm.

    The ARM assembly language is just fundementally better than x86 because it isn't backwards compatable all the way to the original i386 instruction set. Sandy Bridge E is a great example. 2.3 billion transistors, but in the end a ton of those are spent supporting legacy instructions that no longer make sense with current designs of cpus and hardware in general, but are still there because they keep the zombie beast of x86 alive for so long. Its not like didn't try to fix it - they made Itanium as a better replacement. Only problem was the problem the windows ARM machines will have - if you cant run x86 software, you are dead from inception. One advantage for ARM will be a somewhat reasonable portability between iOS and Android to ARM, and Linux already runs on ARM as do many linux apps, GCC compiles to ARM, etc. The OSS community tools work on ARM already, whereas for a long time after Itanium came out they didn't, but that is irrelevant for average joe consumer.

    One other thing to consider - how many general purpose consumers use software anymore? Everything is web based. You can get the entire rage of general purpose software through google docs and the prepackaged bloatware MS will throw in.

    What is hilarious to me is how much this much be costing M$. They have to rewrite everything in the NT kernel for ARM, port .net and everything else they have made for a decade, and expect it to sell well enough to justify that huge investment.
  • 6 Hide
    hpglow , November 29, 2011 6:40 PM
    de5_royhow small and fast will the arm socs be? intel already has 22 nm chips on the way, amd's just got their 32 nm chips out. 2013 is a little late for debut. intel can have a mature ultrabook market by the time arm brings out a notebook.and if it can't play crysis...

    At 40nm many ARM processors consume less than 1W. Nothing intel has comes anywhere close to that. If these SOC makers were to utilize a smaller node they would bring that figure down quite a bit. Performance is another arena entirely, however, given the fact that the ARM processors would not have to worry about backwards compatibility they will likely not be as slow as people think.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , November 29, 2011 6:46 PM
    i can see most software makers woulld add support for arm down the road. maybe even before they get released as long as MS lets them.

    still it will be messy. more messy than vista turned out to be
  • 1 Hide
    captaincharisma , November 29, 2011 6:48 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomWindows does NOT perform on an ARM processor yet, troll, it's x86-only.


    you are half right there are version of windows that supported ARM before
  • 2 Hide
    kartu , November 29, 2011 6:57 PM
    croc4Why?, ARM based CPU's fail compared to x86 versions in the performance arena, and we all know how badly the 'netbooks' did, very slow even doing basic tasks, so adding an even less powered CPU is going to work 'better'?, I'm sure the performance will be better than todays versions, but still won't be close to low end x86 cpus. I see fail written all over this


    I was surprise to discover that while they "fail" they are not it's not orders of magnitude behind. 800Mhz A8 was up to two times slower than 1Ghz Atom in tests:
    http://iltsarnews.blogspot.com/2010/04/arm-vs-x86-low-power-vs-performance.html

    Poiwer usage was 1 : 2 to 1 : 3 and that with Arm board having no power saving features.


    Note that most users need "fast enough" CPU.
  • -1 Hide
    billybobser , November 29, 2011 7:02 PM
    x86 is the junk.


    If intel broke away from it, we'd have alot more progress. AMD just competes in Intel's market for price point.

    It's about time someone moved computers forward.


    (staying on x86 is like staying on IE5)
  • -4 Hide
    captaincharisma , November 29, 2011 7:06 PM
    billybobserx86 is the junk. If intel broke away from it, we'd have alot more progress. AMD just competes in Intel's market for price point.It's about time someone moved computers forward.(staying on x86 is like staying on IE5)


    just because your phone performs good with it doesn't mean a PC will

    x86 is junk? give me a break
  • 2 Hide
    croc4 , November 29, 2011 7:35 PM
    Well, I'm not going to hold my breath, I realize arms are better power wise, I was not arguing that. And as far as "general software" or "fast enough" CPU's that's where I disagree. My wife has a netbook (atom based) and for all intent and purposes its fast enough and the battery life is pretty good, but what does she do when I'm not using my laptop?, she uses mine because hers is 'too slow' she says and all she is doing is face booking and emailing / surfing the web, all of which the atom can do, but not "fast" enough apparently, so toss in a lower performing CPU and I doubt the end user experience is going to be 'better'. Maybe I'm wrong.........
  • 1 Hide
    clonazepam , November 29, 2011 8:01 PM
    From everything I've seen to date in phones / tablets / netbooks / notebooks / laptops, the best netbooks/notebooks that I would be interested in, won't have Windows on them.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 29, 2011 8:03 PM
    "At 40nm many ARM processors consume less than 1W. Nothing intel has comes anywhere close to that. If these SOC makers were to utilize a smaller node they would bring that figure down quite a bit. Performance is another arena entirely, however, given the fact that the ARM processors would not have to worry about backwards compatibility they will likely not be as slow as people think. "

    None that can do any kind of performance like Kal-El,etc. By 2013, Intel will have Silvermont ATOMS. These are SOC ATOMS redeveloped to compete with the low power ARMs. Power consumption will be very similar between the two but the ATOM will have FAR greater performance. Would you really buy an ARM laptop over a Silvermont ATOM laptop? The ATOM laptop will run all of your same software BUT will have much greater performance at the same low cost. ARM is a failure on the PC platform in my opinion. This is a pretty big gamble by those suppliers.
  • 0 Hide
    PhilFrisbie , November 29, 2011 8:08 PM
    Quote:
    you are half right there are version of windows that supported ARM before

    Sure, but Windows CE is a very different OS from desktop Windows. Just try to port a simple app to CE. . .
  • 1 Hide
    K2N hater , November 29, 2011 8:16 PM
    Comparing ARM efficiency to X86 without scaling the OS/apps resource demand is really like comparing apples to oranges.
  • 0 Hide
    allenpan , November 29, 2011 9:35 PM
    port application from CE to windows or windows to CE is relatively easy, as long as on .Net framework, it works on both CE and Windows

    also back in win2K, there is windows support for RISC CPU, even back to windows NT
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , November 29, 2011 9:46 PM
    I just think its going to be a really uphill battle to convince people Windows, even with metro, is going to be, or at least, give the perception of being "fresh, hip, and new".

    The masses have spoken.

    Performance isn't the main factor when considering gadgets these days.

    There's exceptions to everything.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , November 29, 2011 10:23 PM
    I can see Intel creating SOC's similar to kal-el in the future. Something like an ivy bridge 8+2 core on a single chip, with the +2 (simple) cores being low power and running whenever the system is just sitting there and all other cores in a sleep state, then when the simple cores hits 40-50% cpu light up the real cores and burn through any cpu intensive tasks then go back to sleep when the work is done.
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