Snapdragon-based Windows 8 PCs due by end of 2012

The first Windows 8 PCs that will run under Snapdragon processors made by Qualcomm could be launched by the end of 2012. News.com reports that during a company investor meeting today in New York, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said that the company is already working with Microsoft to ensure that its Snapdragon processors will work well with Windows 8. Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will be made to run on ARM-designed processors such as the ones that Qualcomm makes.

Some people have already pointed out that a Windows 8 PC running on an ARM-based processor won't be able to run older software programs designed for past Windows operating systems, which have been made to run on x86-based chips such as the ones made by Intel and AMD. But Qualcomm's Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf said today that won't be a problem for its Windows 8 PCs. Many of the more popular PC applications will be re-written to work on processors with the ARM design like the Snapdragon. He also said that other applications will move to the cloud server space which eliminates the need for any specific processor.

He added, "For the apps that you really care about, I don't see it as a significant growth inhibitor in terms of ARM vs. Windows. I don't think the impact is as significant as what others believe."

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ARM-based ultrabooks capable of properly doing full HD video and Microsoft porting Office 2010 (or newer) to ARM and they have a win for me.

When they say: "ARM-based processor won't be able to run older software programs designed for past Windows operating systems" my understanding is that the ARM version has shed a lot of legacy API calls that are x86 specific (or just old), many applications have manual assembly code optimisations and the most important point being that x86 binaries won't run on ARM.

It will be interesting to see if the situation changes in 3-4 years given that a 64bit version of ARM will be coming out thus the ability for ARM to come as competitor to Intel in the laptop/desktop segment raises some interesting thoughts. ARM doesn't necessarily have to be at the bleeding edge of performance but if it does what most people need then that is all that is really required.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
When they say: "ARM-based processor won't be able to run older software programs designed for past Windows operating systems" my understanding is that the ARM version has shed a lot of legacy API calls that are x86 specific (or just old), many applications have manual assembly code optimisations and the most important point being that x86 binaries won't run on ARM.

It will be interesting to see if the situation changes in 3-4 years given that a 64bit version of ARM will be coming out thus the ability for ARM to come as competitor to Intel in the laptop/desktop segment raises some interesting thoughts. ARM doesn't necessarily have to be at the bleeding edge of performance but if it does what most people need then that is all that is really required.

For ARM to go head to head with Intel on the performance side of things, I would guess they would need to push a lot of cores onto a single die. Think about it, new more efficient applications can be scaled across more cores. ARM could slap so many cores onto a chip because after all, while ARM has nearly always been tailored for small form factors like mobiles etc, they could scale this upwards to PC's. When only one or two cores are needed it can shut the other ones down. Tegra 3 chips do this, they have 5 cores, 4 normal cores and 1 additional if the device needs the extra power then it automatically shuts it off to save power.

Tony. said,

For ARM to go head to head with Intel on the performance side of things, I would guess they would need to push a lot of cores onto a single die. Think about it, new more efficient applications can be scaled across more cores. ARM could slap so many cores onto a chip because after all, while ARM has nearly always been tailored for small form factors like mobiles etc, they could scale this upwards to PC's. When only one or two cores are needed it can shut the other ones down. Tegra 3 chips do this, they have 5 cores, 4 normal cores and 1 additional if the device needs the extra power then it automatically shuts it off to save power.


I think you got that backwards. That 5th core in Tegra 3 is what does most of the work. Only when more power is needed, such as when playing a game are the other 4 powered up, and that 5th one powered off.

Tony. said,

For ARM to go head to head with Intel on the performance side of things, I would guess they would need to push a lot of cores onto a single die.

If ARM start to make real headway in low-powered laptops and tablets running Windows, I would not be at all surprised to see designs coming out of ARM giving per-core performance comparable with the lower end of Intel/AMD's x86 offerings. If the market for it appears, which is hardly unlikely, I suspect Qualcomm would be very interested in getting such chips fabbed.

Good to hear, I have little doubt MS will do an office version for the ARM chip as well as promote and support development of popular apps. The point about cloud services is a good one too.

Eitherway a full day of battery life with office and other windows apps on a light portable device would be great imo.