Friday 24 December 2010

Microsoft should port Windows to ARM

Been reading my daily dose of technology news and stumbled upon an article on ArsTechnica about Bloomberg reporting about Microsoft porting Windows to ARM. Pun with multiple references as intended :D BTW: ARM logo sucks. They really should hire a designer.
Anyway, since I've been meaning to write a piece on that for a while now, after reading those articles, I feel like I must. So here it goes:
I think both those articles are wrong in guessing as to why such a port would be nice. They cite a port for tablets, smartphones and such devices. But this is all wrong. Why would Microsoft do this only weeks after finally releasing their new platform (WP7) for such devices? Even thinking of this is beyond ridiculous. Though some WP7 design decisions, like Silverlight being the API of choice, are wrong and damaging, the platform itself is fresh and new and good.
What a Windows port to ARM would do for the OS giant - or better said: for us - isn't introducing yet another contender for the tablet OS of choice. No, instead such a port would provide an alternative for the average Joe.
See, the average Joe buys a PC to surf the web, watch YouTube and sometimes prints a web page or Word document. AMD is right with is current mobile novelties where they went for these exact users with their fusion processor introductions.
What ARM chips provide is the same functionality within lower power envelope and with lower system costs. Remove the display from a smartphone, add a mini DP socket and a couple of USB ports and you have the perfect web surfing device for less than 100€ / $. If this device runs your latest Windows that you know and love, why wouldn't you buy?

Update: I forgot to mention that seeing an actual Windows port to the architecture would most probably stimulate chip designers to start designing desktop oriented ARM chips. More power hungry but also reaching for x86 performance.

So, yes, Microsoft should port Windows to ARM. Not to introduce a new system for tablets, but to support the world's most usable and loved OS on the most useful and fastest progressing processor technology of today.