ARM CEO: Windows 8 tablets could have edge vs. Android

Windows 8 isn't due for its final release until sometime in the second half of 2012. However, Microsoft's next operating system could have the edge over the already established Android OS from Google in the tablet market. At least that's the opinion of ARM CEO Warren East, in remarks made during a conference call with investors today.

News.com reports that East, when asked by a financial analyst why people would buy Windows 8-based tablets, said:

Consumers are familiar with Microsoft and very familiar with Windows and they're less familiar with an Android environment. Microsoft has an awareness advantage with consumers that the Android folks didn't have. It's up to Microsoft [and we'll see] how well they're going to exploit that advantage. But I think that's a fundamental difference.

That said, East also believes that Android-based tablets will gain in market share in the future, saying, "I think we should give Android tablets a little bit more time."

Windows 8 will have an ARM port in addition to its familiar x86 version designed to be run on chips created by Intel and AMD. East has previously said that he would not mind if the ARM version of Windows 8 would be released late, saying he would rather wait "to get a quality experience than compromise." However, there are reports that the ARM version of Windows 8 is now considered to be stable and could be released to developers sometime in February.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft to replace Hotmail banner ads with deals

Next Story

Amazon gets good and bad news in financial numbers

43 Comments

View more comments

.Neo said,

Except for the fact Windows 8 has a radically different interface compared to previous versions that doesn't look familiar to many at all.

Except for the fact that it doesn't. You still have the basic windows ui underneath metro.

.Neo said,

Except for the fact Windows 8 has a radically different interface compared to previous versions that doesn't look familiar to many at all.
Still more familiar then Android. Especially since Android can differ between devices.

jcvor said,

Except for the fact that it doesn't. You still have the basic windows ui underneath metro.


Except you probably won't on ARM-based tablets. It still isn't confirmed if the desktop environment will be available on such devices. Also keep in mind that customers showed very little interest so far in running desktop Windows on tablets and slates.

Xero said,
Still more familiar then Android. Especially since Android can differ between devices.

What you're saying here makes zero sense. Metro is equally as different from the Windows desktop environment as iOS and Android are. Whether Android itself has many different appearances is irrelevant when it comes to this; either way you'll end up with something other than you're used to.

Edited by .Neo, Feb 1 2012, 12:37pm :

.Neo said,
Except you probably won't on ARM-based tablets. It still isn't confirmed if the desktop environment will be available on such devices.

Didn't they already say that Office won't come in a Metro flavor? (Think they did anyway.) And since they did show an ARM version of Office already, stands to reason that the desktop will be available on ARM.

.Neo said,
Also keep in mind that customers showed very little interest so far in running desktop Windows on tablets and slates.

Source on that one? Just my opinion of course, but I'm very interested in being able to run the exact same software on my desktop and on the go versus having to fool around with two separate programs on two different platforms and hoping they play nice together. Consistency across devices will be a huge attraction. Have an Android tablet already, it's nice and all for what it is, but if I could get my desktop OS on it as well... oh hell yes.

Max Norris said,
Didn't they already say that Office won't come in a Metro flavor? (Think they did anyway.) And since they did show an ARM version of Office already, stands to reason that the desktop will be available on ARM.

There was a whole article here on Neowin that Microsoft is still debating what to do. So far it hasn't been confirmed that there won't be a Metro version of Office as far as I know. Beyond that it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft, or any company for that matter, demoed something that won't hit the consumer market or vice versa.

Max Norris said,
Source on that one? [...]

What source do you need here? It's a given fact that Microsoft plays no real role of interest within the current tablet market, let's not pretend something else is the case. Windows 7, Vista and XP simply never caught on. You and some other others are apparently part of a niche market while the vast majority of people enjoy using something more simple like iOS and Android. Hence their success and the failure of Windows so far. Why do you think Microsoft developed Metro? Probably not because Aero is such a raging hit on a tablet, which it isn't.

Edited by .Neo, Feb 1 2012, 2:52pm :

Xero said,
Still more familiar then Android. Especially since Android can differ between devices.
Well you are half right. Yes Window sis more familiar than Android, so you are right their. As far as Android being different on devices? 1/2 right.

Android is 100% identical on ALL devices. The differences you see if the modifications in appearance. Motorola, HTC and Samsung all use a skin on top of the Android OS to being a different flavor to the table. But it doesn't really work any different, it is just presented differently. When you see a device with stock Android, the basic functions are 100% identical.

I hate stock Android. It's plain and boring to use. It like "vanilla" ice cream. I don't like TouchWiz or Blur either. But I love Sense.

In my opinion I think the ARM Windows 8 tablets will be limited compared to their x86 cousins. Look at Android and iOS tablets which are based on ARM. I think that is why Microsoft made Metro. The ARM version is going to be a lot like using an iPad or Android tablet vs x86 having a touch UI on top of the OS we are all familiar with.

.Neo said,

Except you probably won't on ARM-based tablets. It still isn't confirmed if the desktop environment will be available on such devices. Also keep in mind that customers showed very little interest so far in running desktop Windows on tablets and slates.


What you're saying here makes zero sense. Metro is equally as different from the Windows desktop environment as iOS and Android are. Whether Android itself has many different appearances is irrelevant when it comes to this; either way you'll end up with something other than you're used to.

Um, you aren't getting this are you?

On Android, if you have a Samsung running v2.1 and a HTC running 2.2 and a Kyocera running 1.6 - there are differences, not only with features, but how the OEM changed things in the way Android works.

The other thing you don't get, and is why many OSes have failed, that Android is also guilty of, is the lack of 'consistency' between applications running on the OS.

In Windows and WP7, when you do A then B happens, when you do C then D happens. This is because of the UI design guidelines and the more robust OS API set offered to developers to use that keeps the consistency. Even OS X and System 1-9 does not have the consistency that Windows 3.x on has, especially with multiple input device features, even a keyboard.

Silly example, On Macs, does the backspace key erase in front or behind, does the delete key work, and if so, does it erase in front or behind the cursor? This is a little example compared to problems with Android, but it is freaking annoying for even Mac users over the years.

On Android goofy crap like this happens even between Apps written by Google. Use the GMail email App, then use the Email App. There are so many goofy differences, it can drive ya mad. Next in the regular Email App, copy something from an Email.. Oh wait, you can't? Ok, maybe try forwarding the email so it opens in an editable text box and then copy the text... Oh wait, you still can't? Now what? You can't copy things from the email you got, and the only option you have is to forward the ENTIRE email to someone else, and you can send a text from something in an Email by using Copy and Paste, you have to retype it. In other Email Apps, Copy and Paste sometimes works and sometimes doesn't... It depends on if they are using the HTML Chrome rendering engine, their own engine, or Chrome itself (which is usually the only one that actually supports selecting text and copy and paste in an Email).

If you were to document the 'inconsistencies' just in the Google Apps themselves, it would be a book. Next add in the HTC changes and the HTC Apps, and The Samsung stuff, and on and on and on... Moving from one Android phone to another Android phone is as much of a change to 'relearn' things as moving from Android to WP7 or iPhone.

This is where Android fails, and Windows doesn't. Even in 3rd party Applications today, Ctrl-C always copies, Ctrl-V always pastes, the Backspace key always erases text before the cursor, you can always select text and right on it for a copy/paste menu, you can ALWAYS command an application with the keyboard and Alt- combinations or arrow keys, and on and on, as these are inherited from the OS APIs or reproduce because the developers aren't from the Linux world of everyone does it different.

Even for touch and gestures and things you 'think' might be new to Windows 8, a lot of them are already in Windows 7 and they ALREADY work in even really old Win32 applications, heck even Win16 applications. From the hold for Right Click on Tablets and touch devices to Ink and technologies you can't even do on Android.

Android's API model is sad in comparison to WP7 for most things, and compared to Windows WinRT it is amazingly sad. There is also the .NET Win32 'like' applications that will run on ARM and share all the same functionality of today's Apps, and some will 'inherit' new functionality of Windows 8 in general UI and input, as well as some Metro features.


Also, one thing to think about beyond the ease of use and consistency, Win8 has another advantage that isn't being talked about much 'yet'... The nature of the NT architecture, when it is 'ported' to a new set of hardware, there is only one basic item that requires code changes, which is the general HAL, and in this, they can do a lot of translation and code shift optimization. Linux ports easy most of the time, as users have access to the source code, but to optimize it for a platform takes a lot of recoding of specific ways the kernel works to take advantage of the new hardware, and this is often just patched or not even done, and distributions use generic translation abstraction drivers to get base functionality running.

This means Android on MOST devices is NOT optimized to even the Linux full potent in terms of performance, and in general there are just many things Linux can't compete with NT when it comes to bare kernel performance even when Linux is optimized, especially the video model and driver model, etc.

The Win8 tablets running on the same hardware is already faster than Android on ARM, especially when pushing graphics, as the WDDM/WDM is faster than what Android (or Linux) can do, and DirectX is faster than OpenGL and OpenGL ES.

So not only will users be familar with Win8, Android will take some kicks in the teeth when like WP7 and Windows 7 the UI is GPU accelerated without issues, as Honeycomb has, and it is consistently accelerated.
(BTW This is the main reason a WP7 is faster running Apps and Graphic demos than Android phones. - And no I'm not even talking about the 'faster posting to facebook and twitter', I'm talking RAW GPU pixels rendered to the screen and App CPU performance.)

dtboos said,
Android doesn't have a chance against Win8 tablets. Sorry.

Most people don't care what's on it. They want cheap. It's just a fact. The only reason iPads sell like they do, is because people are told that's what they need. Working in a school environment, it's iPad this and iPad that.

I'm waiting for Windows tablets for the control through GP and using existing software, but that's the only reason. I much more prefer the Android ecosystem because there are more apps. I'll have to wait and see if those apps make it to Windows or not as an actual app.

farmeunit said,

Most people don't care what's on it. They want cheap. It's just a fact. The only reason iPads sell like they do, is because people are told that's what they need. Working in a school environment, it's iPad this and iPad that.

I'm waiting for Windows tablets for the control through GP and using existing software, but that's the only reason. I much more prefer the Android ecosystem because there are more apps. I'll have to wait and see if those apps make it to Windows or not as an actual app.

I work in a school environment too, and its just sad.

farmeunit said,

Most people don't care what's on it. They want cheap. It's just a fact. The only reason iPads sell like they do, is because people are told that's what they need. Working in a school environment, it's iPad this and iPad that.

I'm waiting for Windows tablets for the control through GP and using existing software, but that's the only reason. I much more prefer the Android ecosystem because there are more apps. I'll have to wait and see if those apps make it to Windows or not as an actual app.

Netbooks that ran Linux were cheap and guess what happened... People wanted Windows. Fact.

Unless people just completely hate the Metro experience, Windows 8 is guaranteed success and market share that would ensure developer support.

farmeunit said,

Most people don't care what's on it. They want cheap.

I agree 100%. That's why so many PCs and tablets run Linux. And MeeGo.

Google Docs has been free for nearly 5 years now - and still hasn't reached one single percentage of global marketshare. Microsoft Office is expensive and went from 92% to 93% last year. Cheap is cheap. Only cheap people want cheap stuff.

farmeunit said,

Most people don't care what's on it. They want cheap. It's just a fact. The only reason iPads sell like they do, is because people are told that's what they need. Working in a school environment, it's iPad this and iPad that.

I'm waiting for Windows tablets for the control through GP and using existing software, but that's the only reason. I much more prefer the Android ecosystem because there are more apps. I'll have to wait and see if those apps make it to Windows or not as an actual app.

I agree that it's all about content. Then some consider price. The better the content the more useful the device. If someone only wants to surf the internet and use some apps then Android is good. Hopefully Windows tablets will offer more software. Since there is already a lot of software for PC's and as long as the tablet allows non metro mode then there should be lots of software. Maybe not ideal for touch but there is lots of software.

Yes some people do like cheap. With good advertising people can easily be suckered in to cheap. Then later they will have to buy a new device for what they actually wanted. If I was cheap I would buy a Pong game built into paddles that can hook up to the TV for cheap. But I don't want cheap. I want a full gaming system. That is why I buy a game console and not the paddle game.

I can picture it this time next year on XDA... Windows 8 on motorola xoom, that'll be me sorted if I decide I want it lol

zikalify said,
I can picture it this time next year on XDA... Windows 8 on motorola xoom, that'll be me sorted if I decide I want it lol

It takes ages to port other versions of Linux to Android phones, if it happens at all. Don't get your hopes up--Windows 8 installing onto today's Android devices will very likely never happen.

Joshie said,

It takes ages to port other versions of Linux to Android phones, if it happens at all. Don't get your hopes up--Windows 8 installing onto today's Android devices will very likely never happen.

Actually Windows 8 runes REALLY fast on lots of Android devices.

Major Plonquer said,

Actually Windows 8 runes REALLY fast on lots of Android devices.

Name one Android device that has been wiped and had Windows 8 clean installed onto.

less than one != lots of

Personally speaking, I think that the metro interface will be more appropriate for tablets. The conventional windows UI won't be very useful for tablets. But I would rather stick to Win 7 if I were to use the metro interface on a PC or a lappie. It feels a little funny using it on conventional desktops or laptops used for official purposes.

An EDGE? This is MS game to lose, the ball is in their court all day long. Even Apple, especially Apple should be slightly concerned. I love it when people underestimate Microsoft, makes this game, (and that is all it is really) that much more fun.

I do not understand why people hate Metro. All people are different. Some like shortcuts on there desktop, some like a clean desktop, some like widgets with info on there desktop, but everyone is customizing there desktop.

Metro is pretty much the same thing but all wrapped into one. It is a shortcut that provides information and is customizable. Metro is nice. It makes it easier to launch things, shows information if the app supports it, and is clean. You will forget that you hate Metro once you start flying around between your apps.

BillyJack said,
I do not understand why people hate Metro. All people are different. Some like shortcuts on there desktop, some like a clean desktop, some like widgets with info on there desktop, but everyone is customizing there desktop.

Metro is pretty much the same thing but all wrapped into one. It is a shortcut that provides information and is customizable. Metro is nice. It makes it easier to launch things, shows information if the app supports it, and is clean. You will forget that you hate Metro once you start flying around between your apps.


this, besides if you dont want to use it, use the 'legacy' desktop!
even if MS decides to lock it out of ARM devices, im quite sure you can hack it back onto it.

Commenting is disabled on this article.