Photos published by Microsoft on the Building Windows 8 blog show that the software giant was already running Windows on ARM (or Microsoft generically calls WOA) even before the first iPad from Apple was launched.
In a post on the Building Windows 8 blog last February 9, Microsoft Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky posted photos of what appears to be an Asus-branded smartphone unmistakably powered by Windows. This device looks like it’s the Asus P835.
According to I Started Something’s Long Zheng and other reports, EXIF data of the photos show that they were taken on January 22, 2010. The iPad was launched by Apple on January 27, 2010.
What this essentially means is that Microsoft has been developing Windows on ARM for quite a long time. This means that Microsoft had interest in running Windows on the architecture developed by the Cambridge, U.K.-based ARM even before Apple made the tablet industry popular with its iPad.
The smartphone and tablet industry is dominated by devices powered by ARM processors because of the low power consumption of the architecture which makes it perfect for smartphones and tablets which have limited amounts of power.
Microsoft’s development of a Windows platform which runs on ARM was not just a reaction to Apple’s sudden and spectacular rise in the tablet industry. Even though the photos are dated just five days before the launch of the original iPad, it’s safe to say that Microsoft has been working on a version of its Windows OS for ARM for months before it was installed on the Asus P835 for testing.
Meanwhile, in the blog post Steven Sinofsky posted on the Building Windows 8 blog, it could be gleaned that Microsoft has been hard at work for developing Windows on ARM. With more than two years developing for the architecture, it’s safe to say that Microsoft’s future products – Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 – are not just ported versions of Windows for the ARM architecture.
Going further, Microsoft may not be releasing a Windows Phone separate from the main Windows OS as it is believed the Redmond, Washington-based software juggernaut may release a unified OS which can be scaled to make it capable of running on multiple platforms and various devices from personal computers to tablets and smartphones.
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