Microsoft announced today what some may consider as the most important event of CES ever, the fact that Windows 8 will run natively on ARM system on chip solutions.
More specifically, the press release issued by Microsoft mentions Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments but omits Marvell, Freescale and Samsung; in addition, it is worth noting that Microsoft itself is a licensee of ARM, which has some pretty interesting implications.
Microsoft demonstrated a barebone, but working computer running Windows Kernel version 6.7.7047 (you can find photos on Betanews here).
Windows on ARM processors means native drivers and applications like Windows Office, support for hardware accelerated HTML5 and graphics and much improved battery life.
Unfortunately, existing applications from third party manufacturers would have to be rewritten; going through an emulator or a virtualised environment would add a heavy overhead, something neither ARM nor Microsoft can afford right now.
Steven Sinfosky, the president of the Windows division said that the company had reached a point where everyone wants to do everything from their computing experience and that "Today's demonstrations will highlight the work we have done on the architecture of Windows to enable the richness of the Windows platform to run natively on the ARM platform."
The next version of Windows 8 is expected to be released at earliest towards the end of 2011 but more likely in 2012.