Acer: No plans for non-tablet WindowsRT products

WindowsRT is the new kid on the block, compared to Windows 8, which is just the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. While we have seen WindowsRT (also known as Windows 8 ARM) running on tablets, there's been no word if it will be used in more conventional desktops and notebooks.

Reuters reports that during Computex this week, the company chairman of Acer, JT Wang, confirmed that Acer has no plans to launch a WindowsRT-based device that isn't a tablet. He states, "According to engineer studies, unless we go into ARM 64-bit, otherwise performance is still not so great. ARM is a newcomer, young and attractive but it takes some time"

However, he does feel that Intel will do well with Windows 8-based notebooks and desktops, saying, "Finally the couple (Windows and Intel) recover their relationship."

Asus is showing off a WindowsRT-based product, the Tablet 600, that also comes with a detachable keyboard, making it more of a hybrid of a tablet and a notebook. However, it could be quite a while before PC makers are comfortable with launching a WindowsRT-based desktop. We suspect we won't see such a desktop on the market until 2013 at the very earliest.

Source: Reuters

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19 Comments

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TRC said,
WindowsRT can't run x86 programs. A desktop version would be epic fail.

But a few years down the line when there are many of those WinRT (not sure if this is the right term) apps for Metro for a lot of casual users they can move over to ARM and enjoy the benefits.

TRC said,
WindowsRT can't run x86 programs. A desktop version would be epic fail.

The article is making it sound like some companies will stop making x86-64 hardware imagine in 5 years when your favorite laptop maker moves strictly to ARM. I'm starting to wonder if there's a conspiracy against the desktop. Heck I've seen some mobile devices include docks to turn them into home based systems. As if... they don't want desktop anymore in the world of computing. What's going on here?

Non-tablet doesn't mean desktop. It could have been a SFF media PC to use with a TV. Windows RT would have worked well in that case.

Izlude said,

The article is making it sound like some companies will stop making x86-64 hardware imagine in 5 years when your favorite laptop maker moves strictly to ARM. I'm starting to wonder if there's a conspiracy against the desktop. Heck I've seen some mobile devices include docks to turn them into home based systems. As if... they don't want desktop anymore in the world of computing. What's going on here?

Whilst they won't run some stuff, the majority of the population could do their computing needs on a cheap netbook.

TRC said,
WindowsRT can't run x86 programs. A desktop version would be epic fail.

Not if a transition path is given.

Assuming a fast enough ARM processor came along that could take on a desktop class CPU then having an emulation mode for x86 code would be easy enough. (Microsoft has done this before, and it isn't as crazy/hard as it sounds.)

Izlude said,

The article is making it sound like some companies will stop making x86-64 hardware imagine in 5 years when your favorite laptop maker moves strictly to ARM. I'm starting to wonder if there's a conspiracy against the desktop. Heck I've seen some mobile devices include docks to turn them into home based systems. As if... they don't want desktop anymore in the world of computing. What's going on here?

There is always talk of breaking from x86 and x64. Intel has already tried to do this a couple of times in the past themselves even.

The way Microsoft is locking down ARM based development and moving people to WinRT and .NET which are binary agnostic, it would open the door to not care about CPU/architecture in a few years as Windows NT can easily port to anything and Apps would also run without the need for emulation or translation.

This could open the door for higher performance computing concepts than traditional x86/x64 can provide, and I would not be surprised to see Intel and/or AMD and others head down this road and leave the current architecture behind.

With VM and dual architecture and translation and emulation technologies, if something is powerful enough, legacy x86 software could still easily run.

Izlude said,

The article is making it sound like some companies will stop making x86-64 hardware imagine in 5 years when your favorite laptop maker moves strictly to ARM. I'm starting to wonder if there's a conspiracy against the desktop. Heck I've seen some mobile devices include docks to turn them into home based systems. As if... they don't want desktop anymore in the world of computing. What's going on here?

It has been said by MANY technology theorists and even Gates himself that eventually the traditional PC would disappear as a notebook/desktop/appliance.

Computers and computing will continue to get smaller and integrate into non-traditional forms will blend themselves into everything in society instead of being dedicated machines.

There was a time when a Radio was an appliance that the family would go to and sit beside, and now Radios and the broadcasting of sound are still around, but hidden in our phones and watches and eyeglasses and cars and on and on.

The desktop PC was always a transitional step, even as Gates talked about wanting a computer in everyone's home 30 years ago.

In Gates own lifetime, he started out with a computer being a 'place' that he went to in high school/college, as a good computer still needed cooling and a room just for it.

Today we still have server rooms with racks of computers, imagine a time when that will also seem silly, as they will be so powerful and tiny, a massive data center today will one day be a small box.

So welcome the death the desktop as something you 'go to use' and enjoy the transition that you always have the computing power and connectivity always with you instead.

Forgive my ignorance, but I thought the only major difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is that the desktop is locked down in the RT version. The naming is confusing as well, because both versions contain the new RT layer :-/

simplezz said,
Forgive my ignorance, but I thought the only major difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is that the desktop is locked down in the RT version. The naming is confusing as well, because both versions contain the new RT layer :-/

Windows RT is Windows 8 for ARM devices and the desktop is locked down as you said. Normal Windows 8 runs on x86 or x86-64 processors, the same as Windows 7.

I'm ignorant too because how does someone manage files/folders if you don't have access to the Desktop? Will they do a Metro "File Manager" for ARM/ WinRT?

TruckWEB said,
I'm ignorant too because how does someone manage files/folders if you don't have access to the Desktop? Will they do a Metro "File Manager" for ARM/ WinRT?

There's still access to the desktop, it's just a locked-down experience -- as in there's limits to what it can run. But I believe there's supposed to be a file manager program for the Metro/Start interface in the final version of Windows RT/Windows 8. May be remembering that incorrectly, though.

simplezz said,
Forgive my ignorance, but I thought the only major difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is that the desktop is locked down in the RT version. The naming is confusing as well, because both versions contain the new RT layer :-/

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...processor-architecture.aspx

This type of information is where tech sites fail the average consumer, as they themselves do not understand the technology, so they gloss over explaining the how and why let alone offer any understanding beyond basic facts.

Windows RT = Windows NT On ARM (WOA)

So it is regular Windows, but compiled for the ARM architecture/processors instead of x86 or x64 or i64 that have been the only versions we have seen over the past 12 years.

WindowsRT DOES NOT have anything to do with Windows CE (WinCE), as WindowsRT is the full NT based operating system.

The RT is confusing people, because the new programming API sets and what Metro runs on is called WinRT, which is a 'platform'.

Microsoft probably made a mistake using Windows RT as the branding for Windows 8 WOA, but they wanted people to understand it is meant mainly for Metro and WinRT based Applications, and also didn't want people to get confused and think older x86 or x64 compiled applications would run on Windows 8 WOA (Windows RT).

WindowsRT can run non-WinRT code and applications, but they have to be hidden from the user or get special permission from Microsoft; which brings up the lockdown.

The 'lockdown' is in how Apps are allowed to be distributed to it, and how it is 'locked' to the hardware for security. So all Apps must be loaded from the Microsoft App store or through a special process for corporate/business/enterprise users that has not been fully disclosed yet.

Microsoft doesn't want developers creating desktop looking or desktop running (non-Metro/non-WinRT) Applications for Windows RT, but exceptions will be allowed as it there is not a technical reason they cannot.

This is less dramatic than it seems, because it just means the Interface portion has to be in WinRT and be Metro or a full screen game. So for example, Adobe could take Photoshop's code and just render it to a Metro interface, compile the old and new code for ARM and have Photoshop running on a ARM device.


__________________________________________________
Windows On ARM (WOA) aka Windows RT is not as special as everyone is making it out to be. It is just Microsoft hasn't built Windows NT for anything non-Intel for over 12 years, so it seems novel and different. (Although technically Windows x64 and Windows i64 are just as 'different' from the normal 32bit version of Windows as Windows On ARM is.)

Windows NT is a rather intelligent kernel and operating system design when it comes to running on various architectures/CPUs etc. Over the years this has been forgotten, even though it has been present in I64 and x64 versions.

Windows NT is technically more portable and easier to port to different CPUs/Architectures than Linux and OpenBSD and other operating systems that people associate with portability.

When Windows NT was designed back in 1990/1991, portability to various CPUs and Architectures was a key feature of the design process and is why it uses a global HAL under the kernel, so that the code can easily be recompiled to other architectures and the main code changes only have to happen in writing a new HAL under the kernel.

This allows Windows to be more or less just recompiled for a new architecture, as it is written for a common architecture that the HAL provides. So any differences, are handled in the HAL, and the code base of how memory is handled and architecture specifics are irrelevant because it is written for the HAL's provided architecture and not x86 or x64 or i64 or ARM.

So this is not a different or 'lighter' version of Windows NT, it is the real thing, just compiled for ARM with some changes in how it is used for the ARM tablet market.


PS Windows RT has NOTHING to do with WinCE, and I have already seen a few 'technical' writers not seem to understand this.


**The Link I provided at the top is fairly good at explaining WOA (Windows RT).

It is also a fun article, as the pictures show Windows 7 NT running on an ARM pre-release version of WP7 device, which is pretty impressive that a workstation/server class OS like Windows NT is easily running on a device that Android would have problems running on.

I don't know a lot of notebooks/desktop running with ARM.
Seriously, is anyone surprised to learn that desktop will keep using good old x86 architecture?

Anthonyd said,
I don't know a lot of notebooks/desktop running with ARM.
Seriously, is anyone surprised to learn that desktop will keep using good old x86 architecture?

Pay special attention to the "unless we go into ARM 64-bit" part of the quote. There is a lot of interest in 64-bit ARM because of it's heat/power efficiency. There will likely be ARM server offerings in the next few years challenging Intel/AMD and if servers, tablets, and phones are all running 64-bit ARM then notebooks/desktops won't be far behind.