Are OEMs already jumping on the Windows-on-ARM bandwagon?

A report from Asia claims hardware makers are quite interested

Are OEMs already jumping on the Windows-on-ARM bandwagon?

No more than a week after the news that Microsoft had successfully gotten x86 Windows 10 to run on an ARM-based processor through emulation, a report out of Asia indicates OEMs are already interested in the offering and looking to make products. 

Microsoft made the announcement at the WinHEC show in China last week. It showed a native x86 version of Windows 10 running on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors with full x86 compatibility. The emulation was done on a new Snapdragon, the 835, that's not on the market and supports only 32-bit apps—but that's not a big deal, since most apps are 32-bit anyway. 

The Taiwanese tech publication DigiTimes—which has a mixed track record of accuracy—claims sources from the upstream supply chain have pointed out that many brand vendors have already started developing and testing notebooks and tablets using the Qualcomm processor, and their final products are likely to arrive in the second half of 2017. 

"The sources pointed out that Qualcomm solutions' advantages in battery life and costs are attracting vendors to invest resources in related product development. Although it is still rather early to determine whether such devices will see strong demand, most vendors believe extra choices are good for the PC market, as differentiation is an important factor," the article said. 

The proof is in the pudding, but I have to assume that if tablet makers are building devices with the Snapdragon 835 for the purpose of running Windows 10, they have been given an in-depth demo by Microsoft and Qualcomm and are sold. 

If it works, it will create a whole mid- to low-end market that Microsoft isn't playing in. The Surface hardware is excellent and expensive—pricier than a laptop. Tablets with the 835 will be much cheaper, so Microsoft doesn't risk cannibalizing its own business. 

These products are supposed to launch in the second half of 2017, so there is still a ways to go.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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