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February 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

[Updated] Microsoft provides details on Windows 8 on ARM

Windows President Steven Sinofsky offers some long-awaited details on Windows 8 on ARM via a new post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Among the highlights, as detailed by Sinofsky:

  • Windows on Arm (WOA) “has a very high degree of commonality and very significant shared code with Windows 8.”
  • “Using WOA ‘out of the box’ will feel just like using Windows 8 on x/86/64. … You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish, the Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer.”
  • WOA PCs are still under development. The goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64.
  • Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64.
  • WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote (codenamed “Office 15”) and supports the Windows desktop experience including File Explorer, and Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop.

The complete blog post is here.

[Update 1:52 p.m.: Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC, offers his take on Sinofsky’s post. Among the things that stood out for Hilwa, he said in an email, was this:

Windows 8 on ARM will not run old apps even if they are recompiled. Microsoft will control both Metro-style and Desktop apps for WOA through its app store and will require developers to rewrite existing apps to the new APIs for the desktop as well. This means there may well evolve a side-loading under-world similar to what we see on the iPad. It is not clear what exceptions Microsoft will make for businesses on this or how hard it will push WOA for businesses at all.]

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