Mobile: Microsoft betting on two, I mean three, horses.

by mcampbell on May 11, 2012

Is Microsoft hedging its bets? Microsoft is releasing two versions of Windows 8; one for ARM-based tablets (using the dominant line of mobile processors), and another for x86/x64-based tablets (using the dominant line of desktop processors).

To run on ARM tablets, existing Windows applications will need to be re-written as Metro UI apps. Although this may prove to be a daunting challenge, the familiarity, maturity, and utility of Windows software approaches may prove very attractive to the consumer. Appearances may be deceiving as it won’t really be Windows. For example, expect ‘light’ versions and don’t expect enterprise management. ARM tablets will not be able to connect to Windows domains.

Tablets based on x86/x64 will also be available and will run a genuine Windows 8 environment, but, to paraphrase PC World’s Tony Bradley, Windows is a desktop OS and a comparative resource hog, and we can expect that these tablets will be essentially notebooks shoe horned into a tablet. What we can’t expect is that they will be thin, light, efficient with memory, or show battery endurance in line with other pads.

Now add Nook, an Android-based system.  Although Barnes and Noble will be running this system, they will be doing it with substantial participation from Microsoft.

Will this approach work, or just confuse the consumer? Probably the later …

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