Windows 8 ARM could go to developers in February

Windows 8 could be ready for its public beta launch for its regular x86 version sometime in late February. However, the release date for the promised version of Microsoft's next operating system for ARM-based processors has been up in the air. Now News.com reports via unnamed sources that the ARM port for Windows 8 is now considered to be stable enough so that developers could get their hands on it as soon as February.

The same article also states from one source that the final release date for the ARM version could happen at the same time as the x86 port. Previously it was thought that the ARM version could be launched later than the x86 port.

The article also claims from another source that an unnamed Windows 8 device that was running on Intel-based processors at CES 2012 a few weeks ago is running on a "cosmetically identical" ARM-based device that could be priced at hundreds of dollars less than the Intel version. That would seem to set up some interesting competition in the Windows 8 hardware space.

In any case, it looks like the ARM port of Windows 8 is further along in development than first believed and that we can perhaps expect ARM-based Windows 8 products around the same time as the Intel-x86 versions.

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Will the x86 version have some substantial enhancements/features for those of us who are productivity oriented, i.e., keyboard/mouse-centric? Or, will it be just a rehash of the tablet/smartphone version of the OS? Microsoft is really shooting themselves in the feet by trying to make one OS for both tablets/smartphones and laptops/desktops. [By the way, the suggestion of buying a remote keyboard and/or mouse for one's tablet does not count. That configuration is just a two-piece tablet=laptop with detachable screen.]

TsarNikky said,
...

simply typing in the metro UI will start a search across local and web, so your rarely used desktop applications are but three keystrokes away.

other applications will either be pinned to start page or classic desktop taskbar as they are today.

Add to that a new ribbon in the explorer UI for the mousers amongst us, and there's a couple things.

Storage spaces which let you define physical disks in pools of content type, similiar to libraries.
I am looking forward to this most of all, so I can have all my video content under one root instead of spanned over 9 drives as I do today.

Instant on and Instant network will improve the laptop experience as well as the desktop.

Powershell V3 for the scripters amongst us.

Even more Fix-It scripts from the solution center, although probably not during consumer preview or enterprise preview (if that rumour turns out true).

All of the effort MS have made with device support for Tablets will have a direct correlation to driver performance on the desktop.

TsarNikky said,
for those of us who are productivity oriented, i.e., keyboard/mouse-centric?

HAHAHAHAHA!
You assume keyboard and mouse is the most optimum interaction model for every scenario.

You will learn.
Or rather, the learning has been done, you only require exposure.

To use absurdity to prove my point.
Go to your local ford dealership and tell them you will only buy one of their Sync equipped vehicles once they support keyboard and mouse for you productivity types.

dotf said,

HAHAHAHAHA!
You assume keyboard and mouse is the most optimum interaction model for every scenario.

You will learn.
Or rather, the learning has been done, you only require exposure.

To use absurdity to prove my point.
Go to your local ford dealership and tell them you will only buy one of their Sync equipped vehicles once they support keyboard and mouse for you productivity types.

No, the keyboard and mouse is not the optimum interaction model for every scenario. What does Windows-8 really have to offer for the millions of us non-mobile types who are keyboard/mouse centric? Think support and backroom staff. Those of us who generate all types of reports, letters, correspondence, research papers, or have to enter data into spreadsheets and databases need keyboards. Tap, tap, tap on a touchscreen doesn't work well at all. Two different user types, two different OS needs (Windows-7 and Windows-8).

The "beta" is actually the RC and the "RC" will just be to fix bugs after the beta, so anything that's in the beta is final and locked by design.

xpclient said,
The "beta" is actually the RC and the "RC" will just be to fix bugs after the beta, so anything that's in the beta is final and locked by design.

Not exactly...

x86 builds will be released for everyone, but ARM builds will go to game developers tied to actual hardware. Considering most Metro apps shouldn't stress the hardware, testing on x86 should be fine, but performance profiling games requires as close to retail hardware as possible.

I don't expect ARM builds to just start floating around as you have to think of all the driver incompatibilities there might be, besides the fact that Windows 8 that will be shipping for tablets will require and expect specific hardware to be installed.

If a beta of the ARM build is released, I hope (and believe) that hackers would figure a way to install it on Android tablets.

The ARM will allow for better cooling. I know intel has a SOC for the phones. Wonder if it will make it to the tablets to compete with the better Battery life and thinner form factors ARM has been able to enjoy.

"ARM-based device that could be priced at hundreds of dollars less than the Intel version"

I don't think so! The price difference between the CPU families is few dollars only. The remainning hardware is basically the same. Look at the Acer W500 and the A500. The price difference is about $100 in favor of the A500 but, the W500 comes with the keyboard dock (with wired ethernet).

I don't know where this information comes from but it's totally bogus.

TheCyberKnight said,
"ARM-based device that could be priced at hundreds of dollars less than the Intel version"

I don't think so! The price difference between the CPU families is few dollars only. The remainning hardware is basically the same. Look at the Acer W500 and the A500. The price difference is about $100 in favor of the A500 but, the W500 comes with the keyboard dock (with wired ethernet).

I don't know where this information comes from but it's totally bogus.

A biggest difference outside of CPU cost, is that ARM devices can use smaller batteries to match Intel based devices, and can usually get by without having to worry too much about cooling.

Ace said,
Makes sense since the ARM version of Windows 8 is Metro only, isn't it?

Microsoft have only ever publicly stated that they were intending on including the traditional desktop on arm devices, so it remains to be seen.

Ace said,
Makes sense since the ARM version of Windows 8 is Metro only, isn't it?

No, it is not. MS demoed Office for ARM last year. There was a desktop and a command prompt shown in the demo. Most of the ARM work was actually done in early builds. Due to the modular nature of Windows NT (the kernel), it's pretty straightforward to port to different architectures.

Enron said,
Is the beta going to be open like the developers preview, or just for certain people?

The x86 Consumer Preview is going to be open. The ARM version will probably be available to developers only.

sam232 said,
The x86 Consumer Preview is going to be open. The ARM version will probably be available to developers only.

I would think OEM and ODM only with emulator available for developers much like wp7 emulator.