Microsoft unveils Windows on a chip

Software giant Microsoft has made clear its aim to attack the mobile device and consumer electronics market by demonstrating a forthcoming version of Windows that supports System on a Chip (SoC) architectures. Speaking in advance on the announcement, made at the CES show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, stressed the importance of tablets as a market for the operating system.

Sinofsky said Microsoft is looking for greater collaboration across an expanded partner ecosystem, involving the likes of ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. The firm is looking to bring to market the widest possible range of Windows-based devices, he said, from tablets and phones, up to netbooks, laptops and PCs.

“We’ve reached a point in technology where everyone really does want everything from their computing experience — the power and breadth of software for today’s laptop, the long battery life and always-on promise of a mobile phone, and the possibilities from a new generation of tablets,” Sinofsky said. “And of course Windows has evolved dramatically over the years to deeply embrace internet services. With today’s announcement and technology preview, we’re demonstrating that Windows will continue to be flexible and resilient – adapting and thriving in this next generation of computing.”

Microsoft also revealed that it is committed to making sure that its popular Office suite runs natively on ARM as part of its focus on SoC architectures.

In related news, graphics processor firm Nvidia unveiled its latest baby – a chipset that it claims will take the mobile devices category beyond “smartphones” to what it calls “superphones”. The Tegra 2, which features in the LG Optimus 2X, features: a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU; the Nvidia GeForce GPU; and a 1080p Video Playback Processor. In Nvidia’s view, the superphone combines seamless multitasking and support for hardware-accelerated Adobe Flash Player, merging the smartphone with a games console and multimedia device.

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