After all the speculation and rumour-mongering, it’s official that future versions of Windows Phone OS will support ARM architecture (also known as system on a chip). Windows Phone 7 already supports phones running on ARM architecture, and along with compatibility with ARM, WP will also be compatible with Intel and AMD chips.
“With today’s announcement, we’re showing the flexibility and resilience of Windows through the power of software and a commitment to world-class engineering. We continue to evolve Windows to deliver the functionality customers demand across the widest variety of hardware platforms and form factors,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live division at Microsoft.
For users it may mean potentially higher battery life and instant booting – features that Intel delivers to a lesser degree. The next version of Windows is also likely to be pushed more as a tablet operating system. Microsoft has been trying to play Windows Phone 7 as a tablet OS too, but without success.
The move is not intended to drive Intel out of the areas it operates in; but rather it is to allow Windows Phone to succeed on devices of all forms, including smartphones and tablets.
While Intel’s chipsets are practically ubiquitous in PCs; in the mobile device market, the company faces stiff competition from ARM based Nvidia Tegra 2 chipsets. ARM is based in Cambridge, England and does not manufacture electronic components itself. The company only sells patent rights for its chip designs. ARM’s Processor technology has been declared the standard by Google for its Android OS, and is being used by many manufacturers including Motorola, Samsung etc.
In the smartphone OS market, Apple with its iOS and Google with Android already have a headstart over Microsoft, which was forced to shift its stance to stay relevant in the market.