Microsoft shows off Windows 8 running on SoC, build numbers revealed

Microsoft announced today at CES 2011 that the next iteration of its desktop OS, Windows 8, will be a System on a Chip (SoC) architectures.

The announcement, which comes before the Microsoft keynote at CES later today, means that Windows 8 will have the ability to run on architectures that only Windows Embedded had been able to run on before. This includes ARM based architecture, which Microsoft runs Windows Phone 7 on right now.

Microsoft's initial launch partners for SoC are AMD, Texas Instruments, Intel, ARM, nVidia and Qualcomm. The company says that the move is so that they can enable greater collaboration across PC's, tablets and phones with Windows 8.

Microsoft's vision for Windows 8 is combining devices together, so that you aren't required to carry 3 devices when you travel such as a phone, pad and laptop. The company is focussing on Windows 8 on slate devices, as well as smaller form factors.

Its worth keeping in mind that even though Microsoft is putting Windows 8 on SoC devices, all applications won't work straight away. Developers will have to include support for them, even Microsoft must make Office compatible, and the company says it will be ensuring Office runs natively on Windows 8 for SoC devices. Microsoft does say that Windows 8 applications will all work, though.

In addition to this, Microsoft revealed the working build number for Windows 8 internally, which is currently 6.2.7867 according to Winrumors and various tweets. The interface looks pretty much the same as Windows 7 right now, but that's expected. We might see more tonight at Microsoft's keynote, which we'll be covering live.

Image Credit: Long Zheng

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Sorry if I totally fail the hype, but why exactly should I await it so much seeing Atom's already fit the purpose?
How big are the advantages, really?

GS:lin

Glee! I am awaiting this eagerly. While at the same time hoping it does not turn out to be yet another Windows ME and become the black sheep of the next-gen operating systems? It sounds good but as we all know what sounds good and what is good are two different things.

ok. now just build a freakin multitouch interface. ms, just face it- windows 7 was not meant for this fate!!!

jasonon said,
ok. now just build a freakin multitouch interface. ms, just face it- windows 7 was not meant for this fate!!!

I think that Windows 7 had a pretty good multitouch interface, they will probably just improve it for Windows 8.

vladtm said,
ARM support is pretty nice ... i wonder where is this going in terms of Windows ecosystem

Maybe have the abilty to be installed on all devices?

Lamp0 said,
OMG

m$ are so stupid why wont they change the THEME!

not buying windows8 if it's still aero or classic

You cannot be for real, I deem you troll

If you are not, then you should know that the UI(s) that will ship with Windows 8 most likely will not be shown off until it is near public beta stage. This is how it has always been

seriously dude...

when will people learn, its been said many many times that microsoft has rumored a new ui, but as usual with every windows release, you won't see much until the betas

can we sticky this somewhere... i feel like with every release of windows we see lots of posts/topics like this

Lamp0 said,
OMG

m$ are so stupid why wont they change the THEME!

not buying windows8 if it's still aero or classic

I generally stop paying attention to people with they have the immaturity to type out Microsoft as m$. Grow up.

Phantom Phreak said,
Sounds like Apple's iOS that runs on many different platforms and coming soon to mac, except it's Windows thus making it 19801840% better!

What?!

Phantom Phreak said,
Sounds like Apple's iOS that runs on many different platforms and coming soon to mac, except it's Windows thus making it 19801840% better!

I think he said it sounds like iOS, which is coming to the Mac to replace OS X (don't hold your breath) and unlike iOS, this version is better because it can run on many different architectures. Finally, because it is Windows, it is much better.

I have to disagree on a couple of points. What I think people fail to realize is that we've been down this road before, though there does seem to be more of a commitment from Microsoft than in the past (with respect to the PPC).

A few problems:
1). Windows 7 and Windows 8 are not iOS.
2). Windows NT, the base foundation of Windows 7 has been available on many different architectures in the past (I seem to remember Alpha, PPC and MIPS).
3). iOS at its core is still OS X. OS X is based on OpenStep, which was based on NeXTstep. It has been on at least a half a dozen different platforms. Apple could easily port the full version of OS X to any platform they wanted, this includes ARM.

What I got out of this:
1). Microsoft sees a market for ARM based servers. If you believe the hype, this is the next wave of green computing (many, many cores and very, very efficient and powerful).
2). Microsoft has no faith in Intel's Atom processor to deliver a slate/tablet that is actually usable to the degree that the iPad is.
3). Microsoft is ****ed at Intel again (this has a lot of history behind it).

Windows on PPC and Alpha were strickly on servers and workstations

Windows on ARM, NVIDA cpu's are aimed at consumer devices and maybe low powered servers

azure.sapphire said,

I think he said it sounds like iOS, which is coming to the Mac to replace OS X (don't hold your breath) and unlike iOS, this version is better because it can run on many different architectures. Finally, because it is Windows, it is much better.

I have to disagree on a couple of points. What I think people fail to realize is that we've been down this road before, though there does seem to be more of a commitment from Microsoft than in the past (with respect to the PPC).

A few problems:
1). Windows 7 and Windows 8 are not iOS.
2). Windows NT, the base foundation of Windows 7 has been available on many different architectures in the past (I seem to remember Alpha, PPC and MIPS).
3). iOS at its core is still OS X. OS X is based on OpenStep, which was based on NeXTstep. It has been on at least a half a dozen different platforms. Apple could easily port the full version of OS X to any platform they wanted, this includes ARM.

What I got out of this:
1). Microsoft sees a market for ARM based servers. If you believe the hype, this is the next wave of green computing (many, many cores and very, very efficient and powerful).
2). Microsoft has no faith in Intel's Atom processor to deliver a slate/tablet that is actually usable to the degree that the iPad is.
3). Microsoft is ****ed at Intel again (this has a lot of history behind it).

Deviate_X said,
Windows on PPC and Alpha were strickly on servers and workstations

Windows on ARM, NVIDA cpu's are aimed at consumer devices and maybe low powered servers

So they say at the moment. I've heard otherwise, though of course I have no real concrete proof to back it up. There are a number of people that really believe that a good chunk of the server market is moving away from x86 and onto ARM.

From a server standpoint, it really does not matter whether you are running x86 or ARM hardware. It is a simple recompile of a few programs. It really would make sense to move large server farms and clusters away from x86.

Nvidia is not the only one to bring this to market. They are simply the first, and aimed really only at the portable device market at the moment, though I suppose low-end servers could be considered in the equation as well.

As for PPC and Alpha being only server and workstation level, there is no difference between a workstation and a personal desktop, and there really never has been. Windows Professional is the legacy of this. It is the Workstation edition, though in truth maybe that should be reserved for Ultimate given that it has bit-locker and the unix subsystem.

My guess is that Microsoft is going to stick a better UI besides what we currently have available in Windows 7. One thing is certain, using the current UI on tablets is a complete waste of time.

Windows running on Tablets is great and am glad they are designing it to work on lower end hardware. The main thing I want to see is a UI for a Windows Tablet that bridges the gap between Windows phone and Windows 7/8. I think the Windows Phone UI could work well on tablets, also could use some more features, while Windows 7 isn't touch friendly enough for tablets

Auroka said,
Aww! No peak at "Wind" (or whatever the new UI is called) yet!
Anyway, very nice!

The two rumored UIs for Windows 8 (if real) won't be shown off until they are close to beta stage

Yes, we all noticed a couple errors. That is why there is a little "Report a problem" button at the bottom of each and every article.

The nice thing about .NET is that you don't have to worry so much about the abstractions to the core OS, the framework should take care of it for you

Hercules said,
The nice thing about .NET is that you don't have to worry so much about the abstractions to the core OS, the operating system should take care of it for you

If you think about it, this change, or rather this adding of support was done pretty quick if they already have it running on hardware. How good it runs though, guess only time will tell.

GP007 said,
If you think about it, this change, or rather this adding of support was done pretty quick if they already have it running on hardware. How good it runs though, guess only time will tell.
How can you tell? They could have been working on this for five years for all we know.

Jan said,
The next two years will be full of fun with Windows 8 leaks!

If it could only be as awesome as the early days of Neowin with the whistler betas....

Techniq said,

If it could only be as awesome as the early days of Neowin with the whistler betas....

we'll just have to make it as awesome ^_^

Jan said,
The next two years will be full of fun with Windows 8 leaks!
Too bad no one will have the hardware to run the "interesting" versions on!

Techniq said,

If it could only be as awesome as the early days of Neowin with the whistler betas....

If anything, 8 could be MORE awesome than the Whistler betas (or even Nashville) due to the much lower CPU power sported by ARM (remember, ARM, by comparison, has *less* horsepower than the P4 Northwood that was XP's CPU of choice). It also means that 8 will be multi-architecture (and will run on any CPU that 7 runs on today).

first a little correction needed:
"Windows 8, will be support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures." doesn't make any sense. ^_^

Also: This looks really early, but I can't wait to see what they are doing. cloud-based, tiles, tablet-centric?

To those who say Win 8 on ARM is not innovative, imagine this: A Windows Version designed for ARM that is light and speedy and has 8-10 hours battery life on a device, and can still run applications! I expect major developers like Adobe to jump on board immediately!

Ayepecks said,
"...will be support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures."

I believe there's not supposed to be a "be" in there.

use report a problem

That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

TechDudeGeorge said,
That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

They wouldn't show off new features right now. They usually show very old builds at stuff like this, they don't want to reveal everything yet.

TechDudeGeorge said,
That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

There's no reason why the code under the hood couldn't be new while they still ran the same old Win7 UI on top so as not to give away any new UI changes this early.

TechDudeGeorge said,
That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

They wouldn't want to reveal too much this early in the game...

TechDudeGeorge said,
That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

When you look at the development process for Windows XP, Vista and 7, key UI elements are usually the last thing revealed (since it's what everyone focuses on). Plus, I think working on ARM chips is a LOT of hard work, and if done right with no glitches, it won't look any different!

TechDudeGeorge said,
That build looks VERY EARLY. And yet previous posts claim they are up to Milestone 2. I bet this build was compiled early last year. And they just don't want to show us any new features yet. I mean they would have to be further than this, after 14 months after Windows 7.

A Milestone 2 build is basically "alpha level" and also "very early". The earliest milestones rarely have many visual changes; just the first steps of architecture changes.

GP007 said,

There's no reason why the code under the hood couldn't be new while they still ran the same old Win7 UI on top so as not to give away any new UI changes this early.


Awww. No images of Wing UI yet....

zombieChan said,
Sounds interesting, can't wait for Win8

I can sure wait for it.. Win7 is just about damn near perfect now and would be a waste of money to make a jump at this point.

sava700 said,

I can sure wait for it.. Win7 is just about damn near perfect now and would be a waste of money to make a jump at this point.


+1

sava700 said,
I can sure wait for it.. Win7 is just about damn near perfect now and would be a waste of money to make a jump at this point.

I don't think you'll see anything any time soon - the announcement now will allow developers to get ready; I'd say that as part of getting Windows certification they'll probably demand that developers provide both x86/x64/ARM binaries to qualify for the special sticker. They first have to get cross compiling tools ready along with some hardware for real world testing so it will be a few years before the final product ships. I have a feeling that the multi-platform move might result in some features being 'x86 only' with modern approaches existing on both thus forcing developers to upgrade their code base.