I was really enthusiastic a few months ago with Windows8. The promise to have a converged OS for PC and Tablet working on both x86 and Arm architecture was really outstanding.
Now, back to earth, the reality is a bit disappointing. There will be two version of Windows launched this fall :
- Windows 8 for x86 architecture
- Windows RT for Arm architecture
Windows 8 will come with two UIs : the classic PC one and the MetroUI. Windows RT (standing for Real Time?) will have just the Metro UI.
Metro UI applications will run on both platforms but classic UI x86 applications will run only on Windows 8.
So we will have under our Christmas trees 2 kind of products :
- Tablets or Netbooks running Windows RT
- PC and “super” tablets running Windows 8
Windows 8 & Windows RT
Let’s hope that Microsoft will communicate efficiently the difference between the 2 versions. Otherwise consumers will be disappointed and reject the whole Windows 2012 release like they did with Vista.
The PC era is over according to Google chief Eric Schmidt. And I believe he is right. The future is mobile with form factors ranging from smartphones to tablets.
I believe he’s right and the porting of Windows8 on Arm is a confirmation.
I just had another confirmation: here is a picture I shot today in Paris:
Tablet in a laptop use case
This young lady was using her iPad as a laptop and removed the keyboard to watch a video. The guys at Microsoft need to hurry up to port on Arm if they want to keep their PC monopoly. But isn’t it too late?
As I was describing in a previous post, Apple approach is to build a fully integrated business model from the chip to the application distribution on your device.
If we imagine Apple pursuing this approach in 2011 and beyond what could their next move? With a $50B treasure chest it opens up some nice opportunities.
If they want to move up stream in the value chain, Arm might be the right target. They would then control the microcode and the design of their A4 chips as well as most of the chips outside of Intel x86 architecture. This acquisition would create a real electroshock in the mobile industry to say the least.
If they want to move downstream TomTom might be another right target. They would enter the PND market maybe not the most flourishing one, but still a large one. By buying TomTom they would grab TeleAtlas one of the 2 providers of maps to the industry. The other one, NavTeq beeing the property of Nokia. This would give them a competitive advantage for the iPhone. They would be able to give away a nice navigation service and a bundle it with their obile app engine.
Let’s keep tuned, Apple is due to swallow a big fish in the coming months.
Mobile and Computing are colliding. I’m strongly convinced that our computing world will change dramatically in the next 5 years. There will be enough computing power in a mobile to run a PC and its main applications (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc.). So you’ll just need a docking station to plug your mobile and transform it into a PC, a Media Player, a Navigation Device, etc. depending on where you are and what you need at this very moment.
Some very interesting products have been disclosed at CES. I think these products are showing the future of Personnal Computing:
Motorola Atrix and Laptop companion
With the Motorola Atrix your mobile is plugged into a companion device that transforms it into a real laptop with PC experience Web browsing thanks to Firefox.
Asus approach is a very interesting too. I believe that the Tablet segment will collide with the laptop segment to the point they will merge. Your PC will be a tablet when on the go when you have no intention to work. Just slide the keyboard and you are ready for a busy day.
With these pictures, one understands a bit better what’s behind Windows 8 Arm move.
Ballmer’s announcement that Windows 8 will support Arm processor was, from my point of view, the biggest news at CES 2011.
Windows 8 will be compatible with ARM-based systems from Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. You can now imagine to have a Windows / Tegra2 tablet or a Windows / Snapdragon smartbook.This is a great advance for these chip manufacturers and a setback for Intel. The old Wintel couple seems to split away, with Intel working with Nokia on Meego, their common linux platform.
The 2012 chipset battleground will look quite different:
Chip makers battleground
As the OS battleground will look different too, whith windows and chrome OS ready for the fight :
OS battleground in 2012
Frontiers are blurring, with a main reason: the future of PC lies both in always-connected and tablet.