Windows 8 Desktop on ARM Will Remain but Won’t Run x86 Apps
Windows 8 on ARM-based devices has been a source of confusion since it won’t run old x86 Windows desktop applications. The VAR Guy has learned that although this is true, the Windows 8 desktop will not be disappearing from ARM tablets. In fact, it will remain very much accessible for all the desktop-related computing needs of Windows users. Read on for the clarification …
A gracious tip of The VAR Guy’s fedora goes to Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet for trying to pin down the still-somewhat unclear issues that remain around Windows 8 for ARM. It seems to be as simple as this: ARM users will enjoy the same Windows 8 experience everyone else has enjoyed, but x86 compiled software will not run on it. This was discussed earlier, but there was confusion around whether the Windows 8 desktop experience would be on ARM tablets at all (because of the no-x86 stance). Apparently, Microsoft offered “guidance” that developers build Metro-style apps for the ARM version of Windows 8, even though it was not a requirement because of hardware limitations.
Realistically, this means users of Windows 8 ARM tablets better be prepared to wait for ARM-compatible Windows applications to be released. If waiting isn’t your style, you might want to go with an x86-based Windows 8 tablet. The VAR Guy believes most users — and especially power users — should lean toward x86 tablets, while consumers looking for a Microsoft-branded iPad-style life of mobile computing should go for the ARM-based Windows 8 tablet.
Since there are no benchmarks, price comparisons or direct user feedback on ARM-based Windows 8 tablets, it’s still too soon to tell. But The VAR Guy thinks the PC world could suddenly get very interesting if big-name companies such as Adobe start releasing ARM versions of their most popular software such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Where would an ARM-powered world take us?