With its uncoming launch of Windows 8, Microsoft will be, for the first time ever, making an ARM-based edition available. Not for consumer purchase, Windows NT will be snapped up by tablet vendors in lieu of a full-blown edition better suited for Intel processors. Weeks ago, Microsoft announced its Surface tablet, and sure enough, an ARM-based variant was announced. Given this, it could be assumed that most of Microsoft’s partners would also be on-board to release ARM devices, but not so.
HP, one of Microsoft’s largest hardware partners, has announced that it will not be releasing its own ARM tablet running Windows. Why? According to an HP spokeswoman, it’s simply due to “customer feedback” – feedback which included a desire to keep retain for x86 software. This feedback aligns with my own. If I’m running Windows on a tablet, I’d still expect to be able to run the software I’m used to, on an actual desktop.
I believe it’s going to take quite some time before a “lot” of ARM-compatible desktop software will begin to trickle out. I’d go as far to say that it might take an entire OS generation just to see if ARM Windows software is even viable. For most developers, the option doesn’t exist to simply recompile for ARM, so some might not even bother with porting their software over, unless ARM-based Windows tablets happen to fly off the shelves.
What’s your opinion on this? Is HP shooting itself in the foot here, or is skipping over ARM the right thing to do?