Microsoft today gave more details about its plans for Windows 8 on ARM processors — a key initiative designed to expand the reach of the operating system beyond traditional PCs to the architecture common in mobile devices and tablet computers.
Windows President Steven Sinofsky writes in a blog post that the goal is for hardware manufacturers to ship ARM-based devices running Windows 8 at the same time as Windows 8 machines that use traditional x86/64 processors (i.e., Intel and AMD).
New “Metro-style” Windows apps will be able to run on both the ARM architecture and on x86/64 machines, and the experience on ARM machines and x86/64 machines will feel the same, including the new Windows 8 Start screen, the traditional Windows desktop and, Internet Explorer 10 and other aspects of the new operating system.
In addition, Sinofsky says that Windows 8 on ARM “includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote,” known by the code name Office 15, preliminary versions of which were recently released for private testing. As Mary Jo Foley notes on ZDNet, the use of the word “includes” there is interesting. Microsoft traditionally sells Windows and Office separately.
Meanwhile, as noted by Tom Warren on The Verge, a video included in the post gives us our first look at the early design of Office 15 in on Windows 8, with a streamlined, touch-friendly interface. It doesn’t show the ribbon interface, but it’s possible that the ribbon is simply minimized in this particular view.
Microsoft said yesterday that it will launch the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the end of this month. The company hasn’t said when Windows 8 will be released, but it’s widely expected later this year.