Skip to main content

ARM-Based Windows 8 Notebooks in Mid-2013?

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.

  • de5_Roy
    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...
    Reply
  • croc4
    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
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    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...
    Reply
  • techguy378
    Windows performs much better on an ARM processor than it does on an x86 processor.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    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.
    Reply
  • zanny
    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.
    Reply
  • hpglow
    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.
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    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
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    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
    Reply
  • kartu
    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.
    Reply