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Nov 29, 2011

ARM-Powered Windows 8 Notebooks and Tablets to Debut in Mid-2013

Despite all the hype that has surrounded Windows 8 and ARM lately, the first notebooks and tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming operating system to be powered by system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices using ARM’s processing cores aren’t expected to come out until mid-2013.

The platform itself is supposed to be announced at the end of 2012, but DigiTimes’ sources report that the first hardware isn’t expected to arrive sooner than mid-2013, June to be more exact.

If these sources turn out to be right, this would mean that broad adoptions isn’t expected to happen until 2014 at the earliest.

Furthermore, the WoA (Windows-on-ARM) platform won’t actually manage to grab any share from Wintel until 2015 arrives, when this is expected to become the second platform in the notebook market.

The most important hurdles in the adoption of Windows-on-ARM are cited as being app availability (x86 applications won’t work on the ARM port of Windows 8) and the notebook’s player’s reluctance to move to this new platform.

According to the same report, system-on-a-chip designers, such as Nvidia and Qualcomm, have already started to work with mobile hardware makers like Lenovo and Asus on potential implementations of the chips, but both of these companies want to test the waters before throwing in their full support for the platform.

Both notebooks and tablets are expected to come from this co-operation , and the former will most probably target the entry-level laptop market.

However, the slow adoption rate of WoA devices could provide Intel with the time it needs in order to become competitive in terms of power consumption with ARM as 2012 will mark the introduction of its Ivy Bridge processor, while in 2013 Haswell will make its entrance to the retail market.

In addition, if ARM doesn’t manage to become a strong competitor for Intel until 2014, it will have to also compete with the chip giant’s Broadwell CPUs that are supposed to become the company’s first true SoC solutions while being built on the low-power 14nm node.


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