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Analyst doubts Windows on ARM success

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CES 2012? Atom? Android? smartphone platform?

The CES is known to be an event filled with new technologies and big announcements. However, the tone of this year's show was a little different. More incremental advancements centered on refining devices people already own.

"There are a lot of things emerging that just make existing products work better and smarter," said analyst Jack Gold, though he noted those smaller improvements could still make a huge difference to consumer experience.

Perhaps the one big product announcement at CES 2012 was Intel's reference design smartphone, and subsequent deal to distribute an Atom powered device in China, but whether consumers will be sold on mobile with Intel inside remains a discussion point.

"Intel can do a lot of fine tuning, they have a lot of software compiler expertise, so it will be interesting to see how well it runs," said Gold, noting that people would take note if Android ran better on the Atom platform than it currently runs on ARM, adding, "there is a chance that will happen."

Jack Gold

Gold: There are a lot of things emerging that just make existing products work better and smarter.

Gold explained that responsiveness would be the real key, saying "If I can open a browser in one second instead of three seconds, people will notice that. If I can stream media at 30 FPS instead of 10 frames per second, people will notice that. If I can run applications that can open up in microseconds instead of two or three seconds, people will notice that."

Turning the discussion to the buzz around Windows 8, Gold expressed excitement for a more "conglomerate experience," which would see the OS becoming more unified between phones, tablets and PCs.

As for Windows 8's chances on ARM, however, Gold was not optimistic.

"Doomed is maybe too strong a word but I don't think it's going to be terribly successful," he posited.

Gold's skepticism arises from the lack of backwards software compatibility on the platform and said the danger is that if the market doesn't quickly take up Windows on ARM, Microsoft will stop spending resources on it, as has been the case with other platforms beforehand.

Meanwhile, Gold explained how graphics cores were becoming ever more critical going forward, be they on smartphones, tablets or PCs, with most browser tech today being GPU driven.

- Sylvie Barak
??EE Times

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