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.