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No 'Desktop' for ARM's Windows 8?

Unless you are a true insider or student of Windows, Win 8 is a mite confusing. There are two interfaces, "Desktop," which looks like the classic Win 7 desktop, and "Metro," which looks like the user interface on a Windows phone. Two processor architectures will be supported, x86/x64 (Intel and AMD) and ARM. Intel and AMD machines will run older apps using the Desktop interface, as well as newer HTML 5-based apps under the newer Metro interface.

ARM-based machines will run Metro apps, largely written in HTML 5, but the capability of ARM-based machines to run Win 7 apps with the Desktop UI is less clear. Last I heard, ARM would run older apps only if they were rewritten/recompiled for ARM. Now even that is coming into question.

Microsoft is reportedly thinking about dumping Desktop for ARM, leaving ARM as a pure tablet play, not a full enterprise PC.

Microsoft is not helping to clarify matters. After a massive PowerPoint orgy at the Build Conference in September, and the release of working code, Microsoft Win 8 execs have been quieter than Teller ever since.
What is your take on Windows 8 ARM support? Thoughts and advice welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/05/2011 at 1:18 PM


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Reader Comments:

Mon, Dec 5, 2011

Its my hope that the ARM systems don't have a desktop. Let 7 have its moment and the tablet compete on it's own.

Mon, Dec 5, 2011 john mcfetridge gainesville,florida

not sure why you say that metro apps will mainly be HTML5 as you are forgetting the XAML/C# world where we will see many Metro phone apps (like mine) ported to the ARM processor.Silverlight apps will be ported also but they will needed to be "dumbed down" to play well in the touch world as a mouse is much more precise then touch. I am porting a silverlight app right now and there are interesting issues.

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