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Showing posts from November, 2012

Plug-and-Play devices on Windows Tablets

In the last post on Windows 8 and the new Windows Runtime libraries for Windows Store apps, I mentioned that the key deliverable in the new version of the Windows OS is the port to the ARM platform. In this post, I will discuss the implications of Windows running on ARM, emphasizing the impact of “plug-and-play” device driver technology. In porting the core of the OS to the ARM platform, Microsoft was careful to preserve the interfaces used by device driver developers, ensuring that there was a smooth transition. Microsoft wanted to allow customers to be able to attach most of the peripherals they use today on a Windows 7 machine to any ARM-based tablet running Windows 8.
What is ARM?In discussing the Windows 8 port to the ARM platform with some folks, I noticed that not everyone is familiar with the underlying hardware, that it runs a different instruction set than Intel-based computers, that it is not Intel-compatible, etc. So, let’s start with a little bit about the ARM hardware it…

Is there an ARM-based PC in your future?

In the previous blog post in this series on Windows 8, I explained that Windows RT is a new application run-time layer in Windows that was built when the Windows OS was ported to the ARM architecture. ARM is the dominant processor architecture used in current smartphones and tablets, including the Apple iPhone and iPad. So, the short answer to the question posed by the title is, “You already do run an ARM-based computer, and it is the smartphone in your pocket.” The problem for Microsoft is that this ARM computer is probably not running an OS based on Windows.

Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, designed to showcase the capabilities of Windows 8, uses an ARM processor. On a Surface, you can only run applications known as Windows Store apps that are specifically built to run on top of Windows RT. You can also install and run Windows 8 on any Intel-compatible 32 or 64-bit compatible processor. The Intel version of Windows 8 is called Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 Pro includes the new Windows RT a…