At a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments (here is the press release). This means that MSFT will have its main OS running on non-x86 processors, like the Cortex A8 which are the powerful ARM SoC currently widely used in the consumer market (for example the Qualcomm Snapdragon is inside almost every Windows Phone 7 device). Well, wow! MSFT has basically two lines of Embedded OS’s: Windows CE (which is at the core of the Mobile/Phone OS’s) which has a small footprint and supports several processor architectures beside x86; on the other side there’s the family -for x86 only- which provides -very roughly- a componentized version of the main consumer OS like Windows XP Embedded in the past and currently Windows Embedded Standard 7. According to this announcemenet it looks like the two worlds are converging somehow and this may have several implications:
- Intel may loose sectors of market since you can have a ‘PC’ running Windows without an x86 inside
- The new OS may have its embedded version (more similar to XPE than to CE I imagine)
- What will happen to Windows Embedded Compact…?