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Cortex A10, ARMv8 : Does Microsoft Know Something About ARM That We Don't?

Why would Microsoft, the world's second biggest technology company, seemingly jeopardise a 25-year relationship with semiconductor giant Intel by hopping in bed with a little known UK-based company called ARM?

Well, we've written extensively on it since the announcement was made last Friday but omitted an important aspect, the fact that Microsoft may be privy to details of ARM's forthcoming architecture, the ARMv8, one which we believe is imminent and groundbreaking.

Believe it or not the ARM's finest, the Cortex A9 was released to the public back in October 2007, that's nearly three years ago and an eternity in terms of x86 architecture timeline.

To put things in perspective, Nehalem, Intel's current architecture, wasn't even available for sale back then and compelling solutions like the Core iX family were still way early in the pipeline.

The ARMv5 was released around 1997, the ARMv6 family, in April 2002 and the ARM v7 - the current powerhouse - came to life back in October 2004 which is nearly six years ago, which means that a new hardware architecture, perhaps ARM v8, may well have been showed to an impressed Microsoft.

Or maybe it could have been a more evolutionary technology, the Cortex A10, which was revealed to the geeks at Microsoft. Either way, the technology must have been impressive enough for Microsoft to go public with the ARM partnership as they might well have gone the other way and keep things secret as Apple did.

So what to expect from the next iteration, well, it will be multi core capable with a bigger focus on SMP with the ability to scale to multi GHz speeds; the rest of the features are up to ARM's partners and that's the beauty of ARM's business model.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.