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Event Coverage

CES Windows Tech Demos - Windows on ARM, 2nd Gen. Surface and More (Updated with Video!)

By Vijay Anand - 6 Jan 2011

Windows on ARM Processing Architectures

Windows on ARM - Again

This is yet another topic that has received much buzz these last few weeks with several leaks pointing out that Microsoft is embracing ARM architectures in a big way. From our demo session today, it turns out to be true and unlike past versions that run a stripped down Windows edition such as Windows CE, the next generation Windows architecture is geared for both ARM and x86 processing architectures. As such, we can expect all the familiar Windows 7 goodness to trickle down into devices of various form factors. Microsoft was very tight lipped in revealing any further timelines, interface enhancements or anything else at the moment other than acknowledging such a development. We could only wish it would come to pass sooner. As to the reasons of why supporting this architecture now, it seems like they've finally realized the growing importance of system-on-chip solutions that are becoming wildly popular in the low-cost mobile computing space and Microsoft wants to deliver a no-compromise experience on even these up and coming solutions.

The ecosystem that Microsoft is creating with the new Windows running on the ARM architecture.

Qualcomm's SnapDragon based test system seen here with Windows 7 running well.

A Texas Instruments OMAP based engine also running Windows 7. Microsoft also showed a successful driver integration as an Epson USB printer was used to print a Word document on this system.

And perhaps the star of the show was the NVIDIA Tegra 2 based test unit running a Windows 7...

... and running a Full HD Iron Man 2 trailer along with other multimedia aspects showcased.

Eventually, these clunky test systems will be shrunk down into a single chip, dubbed system-on-chip as shown here hastily.

And they will be integrated as part of complete system solution that may communicate with other auxiliary ICs on a mainboard for further functionality.