Windows 8 on ARM to support Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments SoCs at launch

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview launched today to much fanfare, but for the mobile types it was the announcement that Microsoft will be supporting four SoCs at launch for tablets and low-power laptops — three ARM-based and one x86. The ARM-based variety will be based on existing hardware from Qualcomm, including the newly-released Snapdragon S4 suite; Nvidia’s Tegra 3 CPU/GPU combo; and Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 base, though it should be expanded to OMAP 5 when available.

As for Intel, its Clover Trail SoC with a 32nm die and integrated Atom CPU/GPU combo will round out the x86 entries. Because existing apps will work out of the box on Clover Trail tablets, Intel will have the only fully-capable Windows 8 tabs upon their launch later this year. Qualcomm has ceded ARM-based PCs to thousands of eligible developers in the run-up to Windows 8 on ARM, as existing apps must be re-compiled (or rewritten, depending on their state).

It looks like, with the Windows Store and full touch support, Windows 8 on ARM will eventually be the best solution for tablet users who want to stay within the Windows ecosystem, as tablets will typically run longer and cooler than on Intel’s Atom chips. Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky is emphasizing that the ARM-based experience will be “no-compromise,” and assuming developers have the impetus to port over their existing Windows apps we have no reason to doubt him.

Source: The Verge