Earlier this month, Microsoft released a huge post on its official Windows 8 blog with a number of details of the upcoming ARM version of Windows 8. While the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 was released today, it was the x86 port that was made available to the public. In the Windows 8 ARM blog post, Microsoft announced that it would be sending out a small number of Windows 8 ARM-equipped PCs to a limited number of developers and hardware partners for testing purposes in the near future.
Today, Qualcomm announced that it is working with Microsoft to provide those Windows 8 ARM testing PCs to developers. The PCs will be using what Qualcomm is calling "next generation" versions of its Snapdragon S4 processor.
Stefan Kinnestrand, director of business planning for Microsoft's Windows Division, said:
Microsoft’s development tools and the Qualcomm Snapdragon test PCs will enable developers to build and test Metro style apps for Windows on ARM PCs Based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, these systems will equip developers to create Metro style apps and offer a rich set of hardware peripherals that plug in and help enable seamless user experiences on the Windows on ARM platform.
Both Microsoft and Qualcomm have said in their separate announcements that these test PCs running on Windows 8 ARM are not representative of what will be launched when the final Windows 8 ARM PCs are ready to be released to the public. Windows 8 ARM will not be launched as a separate software product; it will only be available as a pre-installed option on Windows 8 ARM device.
Other ARM-based processor makers such as NVIDIA and Texas Instruments have already announced their chips will be able to run Windows 8 ARM when it is released.