In a recent Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft finally confirmed that Windows 8 will be available in an ARM version for PC’s and tablets at the same time as the x86 version is launched.
“WOA (Windows on ARM) PCs are still under development and our collective goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64. These PCs will be built on unique and innovative hardware platforms provided by NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, with a common Windows on ARM OS foundation—all running the same Windows OS binaries, a unique approach for the industry. PC manufacturers are hard at work on PCs designed from the ground up to be great and exclusively for WOA.”
Windows on ARM (WOA) is a new edition of Windows that will support devices running on power efficient ARM chipsets such as Windows 8 tablets.
“Using WOA ‘out of the box’ will feel just like using Windows 8 on x86/64. You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same way. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish,the Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer.”
However, while WOA machines will share a large amount of underlying code from the x86 version of the windows (even including the legacy Windows desktop), there are still differences. WOA devices do not sleep or hibernate, instead work on a new power mode called Connected Standby, similar to how most modern mobile phones work. Applications will also need to be recompiled from x86 to WOA, and can only be delivered through the online Microsoft Windows store.
The WOA version of Windows 8 won’t be available as part of the consumer preview, due at the end of February, but is expected to launch at the same time as Windows 8.