Microsoft is slowly releasing more information about its Windows 8 and next-generation Office 15 projects. As Windows 8 will be the first version of the Windows operating system to support both AMD’s and Intel’s x86 architecture as well as ARM-based CPUs, there have been questions surrounding the user experience of tablets and PCs on both platforms and if they would be the same. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Steven Sinosfky had provided some answers in the company’s Windows blog.
With Windows 8, we have reimagined Windows from the chipset to the experience—and bringing this reimagined Windows to the ARM® processor architecture is a significant part of this innovation.
According to Sinofsky, both ARM and x86 platforms will offer the same user experience, and that Windows for ARM and Windows for x86 will both be released at the same time, rather than a staggered roll out as previously speculated.
On ARM, Microsoft will pre-load Windows with Office 15, which is said to have been optimized for touch and will come with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote programs. Windows on ARM will also have a full File Explorer, Internet Explorer 10, and access to the traditional Windows desktop and other Windows apps in addition to supporting HTML5 apps. Metro apps and the Windows store for apps and programs will be available to users on both ARM and x86 architectures. The main difference between ARM and x86 support is that Windows on ARM will not support or allow existing x86-written apps to run on that platform.
Using WOA “out of the box” will feel just like using Windows 8 on x86/64. You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same way. 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. It will have the same fast and fluid experience. In other words, we’ve designed WOA to look and feel just like you would expect. WOA enables creativity in PC design that, in combination with newly architected features of the OS, will bring to customers new no-compromise experiences.
Sinofsky says that PC-makers are now working on devices that support the ARM architecture and it is the goal to have Windows on ARM and Windows on x86 devices ship at the same time.