Unnamed sources tell CNET that Microsoft now has a stable version of Windows 8 running on ARM devices. In addition, they say Microsoft expects to release the code to developers this month.
ARM devices running Windows 8 could shake up the tablet and ultrabook markets. “The bigger implication is, with [Intel-based] ultrabooks you’re popularizing the idea that you have this thinner design that turns on faster, that lasts longer [battery life] — but then you have Windows 8 on ARM that’s built at a price point that’s much lower. And does all of those things too. This is setting up the ultrabook to head right into the teeth of their [ARM] competitor,” said a source.
However, while the ARM-based devices will run apps designed for the Metro interface and may be able to run Microsoft apps like Office, they will likely not be able to run many third-party legacy apps. “I’m not aware of any third-party legacy applications running on Windows 8 on ARM,” said one source. “That’s one of the snags that Microsoft is trying to work through. You want to come out with a fairly robust library of applications,” added another.