Microsoft has demonstrated that its upcoming Windows 8 operating system will work on ARM-based processors many times in the last few months, but the company has been mum on when that version of the software will be available for testing and what kind of apps it will run. Now, we have more details.
In a post at the company's Building Windows 8 blog, software president Stephen Sinofsky said not only does the manufacturer intend to release Windows 8 on ARM devices at the same time as Windows 8 for x86/64 chips, he also said Windows 8 for ARM will support desktop versions of familiar Microsoft apps, including versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Internet Explorer 10.
Until today's post, there had been some debate about just how Microsoft would support its familiar Office software in the Windows 8 for ARM interface. Many figured the software would run only the Metro interface (just like Windows 8 for x86/64 chips), but it now looks as though Office 15 will also support a non-Metro, desktop-like UI. Other prominent features of the desktop Windows ecosystem, including File Explorer, Internet 10 and other OS components, will also work in desktop-like interfaces on Windows 8 ARM devices.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a public demo of Windows 8 at the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona, Spain on February 29. It is expected that a beta of x86/64 OS called Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be released afterwards. There's still no specific time frame for Windows 8 on ARM, but it looks like that beta release won't come long after.