Windows 7 for ARM? (Microsoft calls it Windows Embedded Compact 7…)

Posted by Charbax – May 5, 2010
Windows CE brand logo
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So the Microsoft engineers have been working hard on their next generation of Windows for ARM processors, the next generation of Windows CE. Will it take advantage of all the ARMv7 features, ARM Cortex A8 and ARM Cortex A9 and other hardware acceleration features, such as using the GPU to accelerate its user interfaces? Windows Phone 7 Series is based on the Windows Embedded Compact 7 core.

I asked Olivier Bloch, Microsoft Embedded technical evangelist a few questions on how Windows Embedded Compact 7 is different from Windows 7 for x86:

Windows Embedded CE and its next version, Windows Embedded Compact 7 are not based on Windows binaries (vs. Windows Embedded Standard which is a componentized embedded version of Windows).

Windows CE has been developped from scratch with a different OS architecture and driver model ensuring hard real time and very small footprint. Windows CE is also disigned to run on different CPU architectures (x86, MIPS, SH, ARM). The other big difference is that you compile Windows Embedded CE when you design a CE OS.

(...)

Windows Embedded team is investing a lot in adding new features, creating new tools to support these new features, analyzing the Embedded market really seriously…

I also (jokingly) asked him if it was going to be open-source and free, to that he could not reply.

Anyways, it will be very interesting to see how much Microsoft is investing in this development of their embedded OS core that Microsoft would like to be used across ARM powered devices like Tablets, Laptops, Set-top-boxes, E-readers and more.

What will Microsoft price it at? And if they price Windows at a low price for future ARM Powered laptops, tablets and phones, as Android is free and open source, will the potential auto-cannibalization of Microsoft's x86 based PC/Laptop be a problem for Microsoft to be able to keep its overall revenue and profits?

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