Windows 8: Microsoft reaffirms ARM won't run x86 apps

When it was announced that Windows 8 would also support the ARM architecture, it was immediately questioned if x86 applications would run on ARM PCs. There has been some confusion on the matter but Steven Sinofsky clarified during a Q&A session this week that x86 applications will not run on ARM based PCs.

This news really shouldn’t come as a major surprise considering the differences between the two architectures. One argument made about why Microsoft didn’t work to create such cross functionality is because of malware and viruses. Slashgear reported that Sinofsky said, “if we do let them run, we just brought the perceived negatives of some of the ecosystem.” He explains, “so, people say, great, now it’s easy to port viruses and malware and we’ll port those."

The architectural differences between the two platforms is so different that to make it even a possibility would most likely require a virtualization extension. If this were the case, it would undermine the entire purpose of supporting the ARM architecture, not to mention the performance would be less than desirable.

The good news is that ARM based Windows 8 products will not be susceptible to the same attacks as the traditional desktop products. Being that there will be considerably less ARM based products out their when compared to x86 or x64 based installs, they should be much less of a target for those with malicious intent.

Microsoft has been saying that ARM and x86 will not be compatible since CES. While this information is not entirely new, there had been some information circling, due to a slightly ambiguous quote, that caused some to believe that this was possible. The confusion came back in May when Intel let slip information regarding Windows 8 which caused Microsoft to pin down Intel for releasing inaccurate information. The confusion arose when Microsoft didn’t specify what information Intel leaked that was inaccurate.

As we said earlier, this is a re-affirmation that ARM and x86 applications will not work natively across the gap. If you had hopes and dreams and were living on rumors that this information was true, sadly, you will be disappointed.

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i don't get why they didn't just leave windows as a mainly desktop/ laptop ui, and keep it separate from the new tablet ui

So let me get this straight, we will have hardware which finally gives us a full day of battery life on a "windows" tablet...but wont be able to use any useful applications? Unless MS is writing Office to work on this thing, similar to the ipad I just dont see the point.

For everyone that want x86 execution on arm, this is a perfect opportunity for parallels or VMware to sell you stuff. Hell this can help keep Oracle in business by selling virtual box support to enterprise.

“if we do let them run, we just brought the perceived negatives of some of the ecosystem.” He explains, “so, people say, great, now it's easy to port viruses and malware and we'll port those."

Well it will be immune from x86 malware but all virus and malware writers have to do is compile an ARM version. It's as easy as a few button clicks. It's easier than going from x86 to x64 as size_t is the same!

They are "trying out" a clean break (by supporting a new architecture) without actually doing a clean break by still maintaining x86. Though I wonder how many will find value in such devices. Probably grandmas and the like crowd or clueless people who "accidentally" get an ARM machine instead of an x86.

xpclient said,
They are "trying out" a clean break (by supporting a new architecture) without actually doing a clean break by still maintaining x86. Though I wonder how many will find value in such devices. Probably grandmas and the like crowd or clueless people who "accidentally" get an ARM machine instead of an x86.

Ask yourself this... Outside of a few legacy games and tools you use, what software have you recently purchased or use that is locked to x86?

This is where .NET is the key to making this less cumbersome than when Microsoft tried to support NT 4.0 on several architectures.

All the WPF/.NET/XNA etc code that is becoming the more common avenue for serious developers will already run fine on the ARM devices, as will the HTML5 and .NET based technologies like WPF, SIlverlight, etc... (Unless they have x86 specific code that steps outside of .NET.)

There will be some adjustment and transitions to make for developers that want to support the ARM tablets, but even with native x86 applications, they can be recompiled to run on ARM rather easily as Microsoft has demonstrated with some very complex pieces of software (Word, Excel, etc.).

This is a transition period where hardware fast enough we can start looking to low level and high level architecture agnostic concepts. So why not push it further ahead. At worst, ARM will fail, and the x86 tablets will rule. However, right now, people don't care about x86, or legacy Applications or iPads would not be selling. And Microsoft can give people a full computer OS on an iPad like ARM device, so why not...

2007 Apple said :Iphone will run a full (but optimized) version of OSX called IphoneOS.

Real fact: Iphone used a limited version of OSX that have little relation with the real OSX, later rebranded as iOS.

2011 Microsoft said: ARM devices will run a full (but optimized) version of Windows8 called Windows8

Real fact: Windows-CE with a special interface.

Magallanes said,
2007 Apple said :Iphone will run a full (but optimized) version of OSX called IphoneOS.

Real fact: Iphone used a limited version of OSX that have little relation with the real OSX, later rebranded as iOS.

2011 Microsoft said: ARM devices will run a full (but optimized) version of Windows8 called Windows8

Real fact: Windows-CE with a special interface.


But Windows 8 + ARM still use the NT Kernel except ported to ARM. It doesnt use the WinCE kernel unless they're the same but I don't think it is.

Magallanes said,
2007 Apple said :Iphone will run a full (but optimized) version of OSX called IphoneOS.

Real fact: Iphone used a limited version of OSX that have little relation with the real OSX, later rebranded as iOS.

2011 Microsoft said: ARM devices will run a full (but optimized) version of Windows8 called Windows8

Real fact: ARM devices run a full (but optimized) version of Windows8 called Windows8

Corrected that for you!!

Magallanes said,
2007 Apple said :Iphone will run a full (but optimized) version of OSX called IphoneOS.

Real fact: Iphone used a limited version of OSX that have little relation with the real OSX, later rebranded as iOS.

2011 Microsoft said: ARM devices will run a full (but optimized) version of Windows8 called Windows8

Real fact: Windows-CE with a special interface.

The ARM devices are running the full version of Windows 8, with the NT kernel.

The only difference is it is compiled for ARM, and using a ARM specific HAL for NT. This doesn't even require much code change in Windows itself because of how NT is designed to work through the HAL.

This isn't a watered down version of Windows, nor Windows CE. This is tried and true Windows NT and the same OS and base applications we see today.

The reason x86 applications can't run on ARM has nothing to do with Windows itself, but that they were 'compiled' to the x86 machine code. If they were simply recompiled to ARM, they would work.

(Notice how the full version of Word and Excel have already been shown running on ARM, these were not rewrites, just recompiles.)

Back in the 1990s NT 4.0 supported several architectures, Alpha, x86, PPC, etc... They were identical, except software 'compiled for x86' would not run on the other architectures. Developers could recompile (with some minor changes) and the software would run on the other platforms just fine. (DEC Alpha used a translation tool to convert x86 compiled code on the fly because it had the extra processing power and bits to do it.)

People that somehow see Windows 8 on ARM as being WinCE have a major intellectual gap in their understanding of CPUs and architectures and how code runs on them.

Windows NT is 'technically' the easiest to port OS when compared to OS X, Linux, etc. As NT uses the HAL and thus the code itself doesn't have to work around the architecture differences, as the HAL does this for the compiled code. However, the code for NT still has to be recompiled. (This is why back in the 90s when Microsoft had less resources than they do now and less engineers than they do now, they were able to pop out NT 4.0 for several CPU/Architectures at the same time, all they had to do was rewrite the HAL and basically recompile NT and recompile the applications running in Win32.

PS OS X is less portable and far heavier to port, which is why you probably won't see Apple ever do a full version of OS X on lower end hardware than it already runs on. This one reason iOS is a stripped down version of OS X and even a stripped down version of the kernel.

I think all the outlets that reported on this are made of a bunch of morons. How in the hell could you ever think x86 code would run on ARM, really? ARM is not that performant of a CPU, sure it is a hell of a lot more power efficient that an Intel but significantly underperforming. How often in the history of computing do you see a less powerful CPU running virtualized code of a more performant one. Sure some extremly powerfull CPUs can virtualize x86 but definitely not ARM or MIPS or any of that crap.

If you thought it meant it could be compiled to work on arm tell that to the Linux kernel developers that got it compiled on 88 CPU architectures (23 platforms).

LauRoman said,
I think all the outlets that reported on this are made of a bunch of morons. How in the hell could you ever think x86 code would run on ARM, really? ARM is not that performant of a CPU, sure it is a hell of a lot more power efficient that an Intel but significantly underperforming. How often in the history of computing do you see a less powerful CPU running virtualized code of a more performant one. Sure some extremly powerfull CPUs can virtualize x86 but definitely not ARM or MIPS or any of that crap.

If you thought it meant it could be compiled to work on arm tell that to the Linux kernel developers that got it compiled on 88 CPU architectures (23 platforms).


It's not Virtualization. Virtualization is the term used to run operating systems within operating systems. This would be emulation, as the x86 binaries would have to be translated into ARM binary to run.

OuchOfDeath said,

It's not Virtualization. Virtualization is the term used to run operating systems within operating systems. This would be emulation, as the x86 binaries would have to be translated into ARM binary to run.
Yes, you're right emulation would have been the better term to describe it. However virtualization is also used to run the roughly the same code on multimple machines (i.e. JVM).

DarthJames said,
Obviously

Well if you had been paying attention, there will be an x86 version of Windows 8. The x86 version will have the Metro UI and then you can switch to desktop mode to use you standard Windows apps.

ARM simply does not offer that kind of power. I mean look what type of devices u find them in. They are all one trick ponies like most tablets.

Not surprised really. I can't imagine ARM tablets having enough power to emulate x86 in software, or if they did, it would almost certainly come at a cost to battery life.

I'm just hoping Intel tablets will have comparable battery life to its ARM counterparts. If so, the tablet choice for using almost all of today's Windows apps and new Metro apps is clear.

Denis W said,
Not surprised really. I can't imagine ARM tablets having enough power to emulate x86 in software, or if they did, it would almost certainly come at a cost to battery life.

I'm just hoping Intel tablets will have comparable battery life to its ARM counterparts. If so, the tablet choice for using almost all of today's Windows apps and new Metro apps is clear.


Current programs will definitely run extremely slowly, but older programs and games can probably run at acceptable speeds, like say Starcraft or Diablo 2 as examples.

A big question you have now is, what about the other way around? Can an ARM app be run on x86 on Win8? I would say the answer is probably "Yes". Windows 8 has a new application environment that replaces Win32 called WinRT. Paul Thurrott has a good basic breakdown of what it entails (and it sounds awesome) and I think it's MS's way of helping make sure future apps can be moved between the two platforms

So this whole x86 issue will hopefully only apply to older apps, not new ones

Sraf said,
A big question you have now is, what about the other way around? Can an ARM app be run on x86 on Win8? I would say the answer is probably "Yes". Windows 8 has a new application environment that replaces Win32 called WinRT. Paul Thurrott has a good basic breakdown of what it entails (and it sounds awesome) and I think it's MS's way of helping make sure future apps can be moved between the two platforms

So this whole x86 issue will hopefully only apply to older apps, not new ones

Intel/Google showed us this week that you can run ARM OS and apps , Android, on x86 smartphones and tablets.

Sraf said,
A big question you have now is, what about the other way around? Can an ARM app be run on x86 on Win8? I would say the answer is probably "Yes". Windows 8 has a new application environment that replaces Win32 called WinRT. Paul Thurrott has a good basic breakdown of what it entails (and it sounds awesome) and I think it's MS's way of helping make sure future apps can be moved between the two platforms

So this whole x86 issue will hopefully only apply to older apps, not new ones


You cannot. Programs that are compiled to ARM are in ARM binary, and you have to emulate ARM binary into x86 binary to have the program run. This is ALWAYS the case. Always. The only exceptions are bytecode or scripting languages such as .Net, Java, Javascript, that are not native ARM or x86 binary. These languages are interpreted at runtime by a virtual machine that is compiled to whatever architecture it is running on. Each virtual machine for each architecture can only run on its specific platform due to it being x86 or ARM binary as examples, but the code the machines interpret is fully cross-platform as results of the languages not being machine code.

This is why browsing is 100% cross-platform. Your javascript virtual machine in your browser interprets the javascript at runtime and translates it into platform specific binary. I'll repeat, that any language that is not interpreted cannot be run cross-platform without having the compiled binary emulated, and this introduces a 10 times performance hit at least.

Also, WinRT is an API like Win32. It has nothing to do with cross-platform code. It's entirely unrelated to the issue of ARM or x86 binaries not being able to be executed by any cpu except the ones they were compiled for without complete binary emulation. It's simply a technically impossible limitation.

alexalex said,

Intel/Google showed us this week that you can run ARM OS and apps , Android, on x86 smartphones and tablets.


The operating can obviously run on many platforms. Android is the Linux kernel, which is one of, if not the most cross-platform operating system out there. I believe it has support for between 1 and 2 dozen CPU architectures. The applications are a completely different matter however. If the application is compiled for one architecture then it cannot run on another without the developer specifically compiling one for the other architecture. Now Android applications are written in Java which is fully cross-platform, but I was under the impression that they were compiled with native ARM code as well, which would make running the applications on x86 Android impossible without ARM to x86 binary emulation which is massively expensive at a 10 times or more performance hit.

OuchOfDeath said,

You cannot. Programs that are compiled to ARM are in ARM binary, and you have to emulate ARM binary into x86 binary to have the program run. This is ALWAYS the case. Always. The only exceptions are bytecode or scripting languages such as .Net, Java, Javascript, that are not native ARM or x86 binary. These languages are interpreted at runtime by a virtual machine that is compiled to whatever architecture it is running on. Each virtual machine for each architecture can only run on its specific platform due to it being x86 or ARM binary as examples, but the code the machines interpret is fully cross-platform as results of the languages not being machine code.

This is why browsing is 100% cross-platform. Your javascript virtual machine in your browser interprets the javascript at runtime and translates it into platform specific binary. I'll repeat, that any language that is not interpreted cannot be run cross-platform without having the compiled binary emulated, and this introduces a 10 times performance hit at least.

Also, WinRT is an API like Win32. It has nothing to do with cross-platform code. It's entirely unrelated to the issue of ARM or x86 binaries not being able to be executed by any cpu except the ones they were compiled for without complete binary emulation. It's simply a technically impossible limitation.

True, but how many apps for the OS do you see being made in ARM bytecode instead of in a architecture agnostic platform like Java or .NET?

Sraf said,

True, but how many apps for the OS do you see being made in ARM bytecode instead of in a architecture agnostic platform like Java or .NET?


You mean ARM binary.

All of them. Every single application you know that exists right now on Windows is x86 binaries. None of them will run on ARM for Windows without binary emulation, which as I said is extremely expensive in terms of processing power. Only Java or .Net programs will run natively, and they are few and far between, especially with commercial programs and games. You probably cannot name me a notable commercial Java or .Net program or game.

Sounds good to me. Most apps can be written to be platform independently quite easily. That is one of the main points of the .Net architecture. Only stuff that needs to eek out every ounce of performance needs to be compiled specifically for a given processor. So the likes of high end games, graphics processing (Paintshop), databases etc will likely remain processor dependant. That's not to say they won't appear on each processor, just that you won't be able to take the same compiled code across.

Slugsie said,
Sounds good to me. Most apps can be written to be platform independently quite easily. That is one of the main points of the .Net architecture. Only stuff that needs to eek out every ounce of performance needs to be compiled specifically for a given processor. So the likes of high end games, graphics processing (Paintshop), databases etc will likely remain processor dependant. That's not to say they won't appear on each processor, just that you won't be able to take the same compiled code across.

That doesn't mean it's easy to port existing code between architectures. Ever done it? There are a lot of things that fail unexpectedly.

MioTheGreat said,

That doesn't mean it's easy to port existing code between architectures. Ever done it? There are a lot of things that fail unexpectedly.


It is a ton easier than porting from one OS to another though, if you used platform specific API's such as winforms and win32 as an example.

eilegz said,
and windows fragmentation here we go....

It should only apply to older apps, as newer apps should be built to run on WinRT, and should be portable between the two platforms

and what about photoshop or premiere on ARM???? or any of j-river's products? or a lot of music/media management apps??? (dBPoweramp for conversion, Virtualdub for quick edits, Amok Playlist copy for universal SD card music organization)

these are the things I hoped to use on my windows 8 tablet.

I guess I'll be buying the intel ones then....

remixedcat said,
and what about photoshop or premiere on ARM???? or any of j-river's products? or a lot of music/media management apps??? (dBPoweramp for conversion, Virtualdub for quick edits, Amok Playlist copy for universal SD card music organization)

these are the things I hoped to use on my windows 8 tablet.

I guess I'll be buying the intel ones then....

I'm sure some of these companies will be porting their stuff.

MioTheGreat said,

I'm sure some of these companies will be porting their stuff.

I have yet to see one example of a professional app being ported to a tablet. I have strong doubts that it will suddenly start to happen now.

cralias said,

I have yet to see one example of a professional app being ported to a tablet. I have strong doubts that it will suddenly start to happen now.

You have yet to see an ARM tablet running a desktop OS. Microsoft hasn't even released preview builds of W8 there, yet.

cralias said,

I have yet to see one example of a professional app being ported to a tablet. I have strong doubts that it will suddenly start to happen now.

Who says they have to be ported to a tablet app, they can keep their normal UIs and port the code from x86 to ARM

remixedcat said,

these are the things I hoped to use on my windows 8 tablet.

I guess I'll be buying the intel ones then....


These are thing that you aould be able to use on your Windows 8 tablet. Just no on the ARM one.

and to everybody saying why would somebody want to run legacy applications on a tablet. Well these tablets support keyboard mouse wireless connections and that can make a tablet very powerful if it can run Office or other work related apps.

I will be buying a tablet PC (x86) so i can play casual games with my 360 controller like Fifa. Or i can work in photoshop with a mouse. Or other stuff and i can take this anywhere. And unlike a laptop i will be able to take the tablet off the dock and use it like a normal tablet for browsing and other simpler tasks.

Zain Adeel said,
and to everybody saying why would somebody want to run legacy applications on a tablet. Well these tablets support keyboard mouse wireless connections and that can make a tablet very powerful if it can run Office or other work related apps.

I will be buying a tablet PC (x86) so i can play casual games with my 360 controller like Fifa. Or i can work in photoshop with a mouse. Or other stuff and i can take this anywhere. And unlike a laptop i will be able to take the tablet off the dock and use it like a normal tablet for browsing and other simpler tasks.

You might want to look at a Hybrid Tablet solution for your tasks. You should also note that for what you want, you'll also end up with a thicker heavier tablet device than an ARM one, not that it might be an issue, but I feel a note of it should be made.

At any rate, there will be games for ARM, and they will be better suited for lower powered devices. I still have my big powerful tower that I plan on keeping, where I can play games with more demanding power needs (which also creates more heat, something else to think about when playing a traditional PC game on one of these tablet machines)
As for Office? They already showed off a port of Office 2010 on ARM back at CES, so no issues there and there is also the possibility of RDP for any "work related" apps that are more suited for a more powerful machine (like TOAD) and I expect that there will be plenty of enterprise level software that will be made in a cross portable .NET mode as time goes on

At the end of the day, I say (read this as if you wrote it) "we wait for the hardware to come and see what my needs are then, at that time I will get the hardware and software that best suits my needs"

I think the actually likely answer is really... native applications built for the x86 instruction set won't run on ARM.

Applications built on the .NET platform that don't do any P/Invoke/COM/Interop will likely work as they run on top of the CLR - the CLR does the heavy lifting of compiling the MSIL down into machine specific instructions.

I'm not sure why anyone really wants to run legacy software on tablets when they were never designed for touch in the first place. Anyone who believes in this idea has never used a Windows XP tablet for corporate apps because they are HORRIBLE.

If you're interested in an ARM tablet, you're buying for battery life, and you aren't going to get that running legacy apps. If you want a tablet running your old software, Intel will happily sell you one with their x86 chips, but don't complain when it only gets 3 hours to a charge instead of 8 or 10. Trying to have your cake and eat it too is what caused Microsoft so much grief in years past.

dagamer34 said,
I'm not sure why anyone really wants to run legacy software on tablets when they were never designed for touch in the first place. Anyone who believes in this idea has never used a Windows XP tablet for corporate apps because they are HORRIBLE.

You know, I think that is quite a fair point to make. While ARM may be used for some low power "desktop" system, it will be predominantly used in the portable space, likely in tablet or hybrid tablet for factors

jamesclarke555 said,
I guess if you want to use all your old apps in tablet form, buy an Atom based one!

more like "buy a Core i" based one

I don't think anyone doubted that the non-NET software couldn't run. What everyone was wondering about was .NET compiled apps that don't have any interop calls.

NXTwoThou said,
I don't think anyone doubted that the non-NET software couldn't run. What everyone was wondering about was .NET compiled apps that don't have any interop calls.
Ya thats what i was thinking. I havent written a Win32 app in forever. As long as C# is supported, im sure people wont notice (minus gamers and a few others programs that just arent suited for .NET)

MikeInBA said,
Ya thats what i was thinking. I havent written a Win32 app in forever. As long as C# is supported, im sure people wont notice (minus gamers and a few others programs that just arent suited for .NET)

I'm pretty sure .net will flourish with games on tablets. I can't wait to see what role XNA has with windows 8.. "hard core games" those i'm sure will pretty much stick to tried and true engines and low level coding like we see today though.

MikeInBA said,
Ya thats what i was thinking. I havent written a Win32 app in forever. As long as C# is supported, im sure people wont notice (minus gamers and a few others programs that just arent suited for .NET)

I don't see any thing drawbacks of what Microsoft is doing. So .NET and Metro-style applications should run without any problems. Metro-style apps can be written in VB/C# on .NET or JavaScript/HTML5/CSS. Now the C/C++ application cross-compilation would be needed, but I don't think this will make a lot of problems. Maybe there will be unified application packages with x86, x86-64, and ARM. That would be nice.

Emulating x86 on ARM would mean apps running so slow people would be complaining about how Win8 is slow even though it's not MS's fault. ARM is slow, x86 is fast, not the other way around.

Aethec said,
Emulating x86 on ARM would mean apps running so slow people would be complaining about how Win8 is slow even though it's not MS's fault. ARM is slow, x86 is fast, not the other way around.

Tegra 3 beats C2D @ 2Ghz in raw power. And that still uses ARM Cortex-A9. The next release should be with Cortex-A15, way more power. ARM is fully ready for dekstop and server markets. They even have the whole section dedicated for servers now.

david13lt said,

Tegra 3 beats C2D @ 2Ghz in raw power. And that still uses ARM Cortex-A9. The next release should be with Cortex-A15, way more power. ARM is fully ready for dekstop and server markets. They even have the whole section dedicated for servers now.

Either way, the architecture is not well suited to emulating x86. Translation between certain architectures sometimes works, but from x86 to ARM, you're asking for sloooowwwww.

david13lt said,

Tegra 3 beats C2D @ 2Ghz in raw power. And that still uses ARM Cortex-A9. The next release should be with Cortex-A15, way more power. ARM is fully ready for dekstop and server markets. They even have the whole section dedicated for servers now.

That's asking for a lot of power draw on a mobile device

I would also call the numbers suspect, but that's because of nVidia's GPU background where test and demo optimization (AKA cheating) has a rich and full history

david13lt said,

Tegra 3 beats C2D @ 2Ghz in raw power. And that still uses ARM Cortex-A9. The next release should be with Cortex-A15, way more power. ARM is fully ready for dekstop and server markets. They even have the whole section dedicated for servers now.

Yeah, I think a lot of you are confusing the ARM architecture with ARM CPUs in mobile devices now. ARM CPUs in phones and tablets have to be very low power and very low heat, which the ARM architecture does well, but the same architecture can be very quick when built for the purpose of running a bigger system that can provide more power and cooling. It's been long rumored that ARM was headed to desktop/notebook markets, and this is the first step.

david13lt said,
Tegra 3 beats C2D @ 2Ghz in raw power. And that still uses ARM Cortex-A9. The next release should be with Cortex-A15, way more power. ARM is fully ready for dekstop and server markets. They even have the whole section dedicated for servers now.

Meh, depends on how you define 'server' given that there are man NAS devices that are already use ARM to serve files, host websites and so forth. The big step forward is nVidia's 'Project Denver' that will bring 64bit ARM computing which will really close the gap between x86 and ARM. I think sooner or later AMD might drop out of the x86 market and Intel might do the same with x86 being produced for legacy reasons rather than necessity. The cold hard reality is that x86 cannot scale down nicely to low end devices like ARM can which is where the ARM advantage is - I could see myself in a few years maybe having an ARM laptop and desktop

Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

MS Lose32 said,
Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

Read the article again. There are several issues, and a lack of performance is one. You might think that crap performance is better than nothing, but think about it. If someone gets an x86 program and runs it on an ARM processor, it will run VERY slowly and the user will get frustrated, ****ed off, etc.

The other issue, when Apple had Rosetta made, it was moving from a less capable to a more capable processor family, in this case Microsoft is moving from a more capable to a less capable processor family, and the performance hit could be higher

Then there is the issue of malware

MS Lose32 said,
Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

Because ARM has way less computing power than x86, whereas x86 had more than PPC…

MS Lose32 said,
Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

Microsoft has .net, if your app is .net, you don't need a translator, you just need a virtual machine to run it native. This is why Office is already shown to run on ARM and other apps will be quick to follow.

MS Lose32 said,
Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

No. Slow is not better than nothing. Rosetta was coined to run on more powerful x86. ARM doesnt have the power. Stop trying to ruin a grrat mobile experience with bs

TechieXP said,
Stop trying to ruin a grrat mobile experience with bs

The only thing that would ruin the experience is making it slow to a craw with hardware emulation. This isn't something new, ARM has been around for a while now and has never been x86 compatible... it's not rocket science. Wait for ARM ports, use dotNET apps which are hardware agnostic, or get an Intel based tablet.

spudtrooper said,

Microsoft has .net, if your app is .net, you don't need a translator, you just need a virtual machine to run it native. This is why Office is already shown to run on ARM and other apps will be quick to follow.


This isn't correct. Office has been recompiled to ARM. Furthermore you can't run x86 Windows or any x86 operating system in a virtual machine for that matter without emulating the x86 code and taking a 10 times or more performance hit.

MS Lose32 said,
Why can't MS write a translator like Apple did with Rosetta? Sure it'll be slow as hell but slow is much better than nothing! They have the man-power to pull it off.

Apple never wrote Rosetta - they licensed it for a set period of time (and probably had to pay royalties back to the company on each shipping version). As other people have noted, the performance hit of a x86->ARM translation would be 10x's worse than going from PPC->x86 given then simple design ARM has when compared to the complexity that x86 instructions have.

Remind me why the hell anyone would want this ARM version if not for an ULP device that was supposed to have the largest mobile app count that can ever be, that is, 20 years of Windows desktop development portfolio?

Ok. Not that it's an easy task to make an virtualization layer for x86 translation. But if it's not on the roadmap somewhere, MS may now might as well can this whole ARM thing.

cralias said,
Remind me why the hell anyone would want this ARM version if not for an ULP device that was supposed to have the largest mobile app count that can ever be, that is, 20 years of Windows desktop development portfolio?

Ok. Not that it's an easy task to make an virtualization layer for x86 translation. But if it's not on the roadmap somewhere, MS may now might as well can this whole ARM thing.

Just picture being out and using an iPad all day, and then coming home and simply running the same, identical programs on your computer. Apple is trying to do that with OS X (obvious with 10.7), and Microsoft is doing that with Windows 8.

Asking why anyone would want an ARM version of Windows is like wondering why anyone would want an iPad (pretty much an ARM version of OS X). ARM devices are small, light, have GREAT battery life, and do amazing things. iPads have proven to be truly complete computer replacements for many people. I have one, my wife has one, both her grandparents have one, and her mom is probably getting one. They are more than enough for most people.

Microsoft wants some of that Apple pie. People don't expect to load Steam, World of Warcraft and 20 years worth of legacy apps on their iPad. They shouldn't expect the same with a Windows ARM tablet. The will web browse, check mail, watch movies, listen to music, and other stuff that is simply easier and better with ARM.

Xenomorph said,
<snip>

Well, then good luck to MS getting that Apple pie. Apps is the key. Developers do and will produce obscene quantities of apps of mostly abysmal quality, of mostly zero value, implementing features gradually, doing development at their leisure and provide zero support, cashing in on the fact that the platform is naked as a newborn.

I'd at least welcome many desktop application to create mobile/tablet versions of their products. Despite all the boom this vision has failed to materialise.

If people will be happy with their tech taking such direction, more power to them. I, for one, will not support it. At least my current experience with mobile app stores contribute to this opinion.

cralias said,

Well, then good luck to MS getting that Apple pie. Apps is the key. Developers do and will produce obscene quantities of apps of mostly abysmal quality, of mostly zero value, implementing features gradually, doing development at their leisure and provide zero support, cashing in on the fact that the platform is naked as a newborn.

I'd at least welcome many desktop application to create mobile/tablet versions of their products. Despite all the boom this vision has failed to materialise.

If people will be happy with their tech taking such direction, more power to them. I, for one, will not support it. At least my current experience with mobile app stores contribute to this opinion.

You realize that MS made it very easy to port an App from WP7 to Win8, right? Like stupid easy, a simple app could be as little as one line, and a complex one would depend on the amount of change going into the UI, as all the backend code would be unchanged, only the XAML would change

So that's a few ten thousand potential apps already, and while plenty are crap, not all are

Don't forget that many older .NET apps will also work as they likely weren't compiled for the x86, but for .NET Run Time, and those that were compiled for x86 should just need a recompile

Xenomorph said,
iPads have proven to be truly complete computer replacements for many people. I have one, my wife has one, both her grandparents have one, and her mom is probably getting one. They are more than enough for most people.

Then most people have really low standards. After using a friend's iPad 2 for awhile back in April when I was considering buying one I was very disappointed with the experience and how amazingly lacking it was. It was basically a giant smartphone missing two very key features that all smartphones have. And it handled secure web forms horribly. It was a neat toy, but that's about it, the tablet niche has a LONG way to go before it can replace an actual PC/Notebook/whatever for anyone that does more than use twitter and check their email.

Xenomorph said,

Just picture being out and using an iPad all day, and then coming home and simply running the same, identical programs on your computer. Apple is trying to do that with OS X (obvious with 10.7), and Microsoft is doing that with Windows 8.

Asking why anyone would want an ARM version of Windows is like wondering why anyone would want an iPad (pretty much an ARM version of OS X). ARM devices are small, light, have GREAT battery life, and do amazing things. iPads have proven to be truly complete computer replacements for many people. I have one, my wife has one, both her grandparents have one, and her mom is probably getting one. They are more than enough for most people.

Microsoft wants some of that Apple pie. People don't expect to load Steam, World of Warcraft and 20 years worth of legacy apps on their iPad. They shouldn't expect the same with a Windows ARM tablet. The will web browse, check mail, watch movies, listen to music, and other stuff that is simply easier and better with ARM.


Exactly +1000
Someone who gets it. Finally!!!!

Amarok said,

Then most people have really low standards. After using a friend's iPad 2 for awhile back in April when I was considering buying one I was very disappointed with the experience and how amazingly lacking it was. It was basically a giant smartphone missing two very key features that all smartphones have. And it handled secure web forms horribly. It was a neat toy, but that's about it, the tablet niche has a LONG way to go before it can replace an actual PC/Notebook/whatever for anyone that does more than use twitter and check their email.

Yeah, I'm fairly certain that the general consensus on tablets such as the iPad 2 is that they are NOT desktop replacements at all. Being an iPad 2 owner myself, I can completely agree. There's no way in hell I could give up my desktop for an iPad. Tablets, at least to this point, have been their own market. They will be desktop replacements when Windows 8 tablets come out with full desktop functionality and a dock to toss them into and use them with a mouse and keyboard, thus making them, in every sense of the word, desktop replacements. More like a portable desktop all in one that has touch functionality when on the go.

Seen this coming a mile off. Anyway what's the point, most of the x86 applications wouldn't be very touch friendly so there's no sense running them on ARM devices.

So now we've got the worst of both worlds. You can't now say "Runs on Windows 8", you also now have to say which platform - very consumer friendly indeed!

bugsbungee said,
Seen this coming a mile off. Anyway what's the point, most of the x86 applications wouldn't be very touch friendly so there's no sense running them on ARM devices.

So now we've got the worst of both worlds. You can't now say "Runs on Windows 8", you also now have to say which platform - very consumer friendly indeed!

Why does ARM instantly mean only touch? I'm sure there'd be a market for ARM based set top boxes, micro-towers, etc.

Kushan said,

Why does ARM instantly mean only touch? I'm sure there'd be a market for ARM based set top boxes, micro-towers, etc.


Not only that, but I've seen quite a few little ARM based netbooks on eBay and other places that currently run Windows CE. While most of those wouldn't be capable of running Windows 8, I could certainly see people building versions that did.

Kushan said,

Why does ARM instantly mean only touch? I'm sure there'd be a market for ARM based set top boxes, micro-towers, etc.

Fair point, I still reckon ARM won't have the power to run many current x86 desktop apps, especially when it would have to go through a translation layer (except perhaps for .Net applications which weren't explicitly compiled for x86/64)

TruckWEB said,
Microsoft showed Office running on ARM, so I'm happy.

I just hope that Apple release iTune for ARM.


Are u crazy? Look how crappy itunes runs on x86

AJerman said,

Runs pretty well for me. *shrug*

Compared to what?

Any other Media player software from Zune to Windows Media Center to Media Player to WinAmp to ANYTHING... is faster and far more stable, and doesn't install 5 or 6 services and full time running applications that are just beyond stupid.

Apple treats Windows like it is OS X, and then does the same things they 'have' to do on OS X, even though it is not needed on Windows NT. This was true years ago with System 8, 9 versions of QuickTime, that would lock to full screen during installation, and also shove video to the display the same crappy way they had to on System 8 & 9.

I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?

trenzterra said,
I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?

First, there is the issue of consistency. I think they wanted a unified metro ui. Second, being able to run x86 applications has nothing to do with being Windows. Third, why do you assume what you suggested would make everyone happy?

trenzterra said,
It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only.

Err, no. The ARM version has the Desktop functionality and desktop IE and desktop everything else. What is being said is that current x86 apps (like Office) not already on the OS will need to be ported. A ported version of Office has already been demoed.

Here you can see a new review of an ARM based tablet and the desktop, on WinDev: http://thisismynext.com/2011/0...-windows-8-tablet-hands-on/

trenzterra said,
I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?

.NET apps are not often compiled to x86 explicitly unless you're doing strange p/invoke things that you don't want targeting 64-bit APIs, so they'll all still run.

trenzterra said,
I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?

Because they wouldn't be making everyone happy. i would be very disappointed if they took away the metro stuff from the desktop version

trenzterra said,
I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?
Well if you had been paying attention, there will be an x86 version of Windows 8. The x86 version will have the Metro UI and then you can switch to desktop mode to use you standard Windows apps. ARM simply does not offer that kind of power. I mean look what type of devices u find them in. They are all one trick ponies like most tablets.

trenzterra said,
I wonder why they even call it Windows 8 then. It seems that the ARM version will be Metro-only. If so, why not make everyone happy and use Metro for the ARM version and normal for the x86?

Even if everyone agreed that Metro was horrible for desktop use, which they don't -- a lot of people like it -- many people want to use their machines both as tablets and as desktop devices, and want to use their classic x86 apps too.

Microsoft is trying to give people the option to have the best of both worlds. Personally, I think some people are overreacting to Metro, I don't think its bad at all. If some people are so disgusted by it , I'm sure you can continue using hacks.

TechieXP said,
Well if you had been paying attention, there will be an x86 version of Windows 8. The x86 version will have the Metro UI and then you can switch to desktop mode to use you standard Windows apps. ARM simply does not offer that kind of power. I mean look what type of devices u find them in. They are all one trick ponies like most tablets.

The interesting part will be how they'll address ARM based desktop and laptop computers when they eventually arrive (which I am sure they will) - nVIdia is already working on a quad core and a 64bit ARM (code name Denver).

funkydude said,

Err, no. The ARM version has the Desktop functionality and desktop IE and desktop everything else. What is being said is that current x86 apps (like Office) not already on the OS will need to be ported. A ported version of Office has already been demoed.

Here you can see a new review of an ARM based tablet and the desktop, on WinDev: http://thisismynext.com/2011/0...-windows-8-tablet-hands-on/

Oh okay I had the impression it wouldn't have the desktop.

In that case, moving on, will desktop apps developed through the framework Windows 8 is using be cross-compatible?

trenzterra said,
Oh okay I had the impression it wouldn't have the desktop.

In that case, moving on, will desktop apps developed through the framework Windows 8 is using be cross-compatible?

What they meant was, that if your ARM chip doesnt have the power to run the desktop, it won't. Windows 8 can automatically detect what your specs are capable of, and adjust accordingly.