UEFI to make its way into mobile and non-PC markets

UEFI to make its way into mobile and non-PC markets

Summary: UEFI — the BIOS replacement that bought the Secure Boot technology to Windows 8 PCs — is set to appear in a wide range of devices, from smartphones to servers.

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UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), the next-generation replacement for the BIOS, is set to make an appearance in mobile devices and other non-PC applications.

UEFI technology was designed from the ground up to work across a range of platforms to enable cross-functionality between devices, software, and systems. While its usage thus far has been limited to PC — UEFI provides the backbone for the Secure Boot feature that is mandatory on certified Windows 8 hardware — the technology is equally at home on all kinds of platforms.

To help the adoption of UEFI beyond the PC, The UEFI Forum, a world-class, nonprofit industry standards body, has released updated specifications, including new versions of UEFI Self-Certification Test (SCT) suites, which helps provide the computing industry with a test suite to verify the existence of protocols, as well as input and output parameters.

"The UEFI specification supports a boot loader that is able to launch a wide variety of operating systems," said Andrew Sloss, senior principal engineer, ARM and UEFI ARM Bindings Sub-Team leader, in a statement to ZDNet. "This technology has clear advantages for equipment manufacturers who need cost-effective, standardized solutions to create compelling new products that are compatible with the exponential growth of mobile and non-PC applications."

ARM now recommends UEFI as the preferred boot loader for its 64-bit processors that are based on the ARMv8 AArch64 architecture, silicon that is finding its way into all sorts of devices, from smartphones to servers, and introduced a new raft of features, including a larger register file, enhanced addressing range and support for cryptography instructions.

"UEFI Secure Boot isn't just for Windows; as more people use mobile devices, the need to protect those devices increases," said Mark Doran, president, UEFI Forum in another statement to ZDNet. "Along with that, we are seeing an increased reliance on firmware innovation across non-traditional market segments. The expansion of UEFI technologies addresses the growing demand for security across the mobile and non-PC application continuum."

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Security

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8 comments
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  • This could go horribly wrong...

    I for one do not want anything to do with UEFI if it prevents me from loading whatever operating system I want on whatever device I want. Do I want some measure of protection from surreptitious modifications to my OS ... yes. Do I want protection from myself when trying to load an OS I want to load ... NO (though a warning may be ok)! If UEFI becomes the bad player it could possibly turn into I will take my consumer dollars to platforms that do not include UEFI.
    TheRealUMLGuy
    • That part's optional.

      In fact, it's only Microsoft that forces others to use the secure boot feature if they want to distribute hardware with Win8 installed.

      It has been proven that there's hardware with otherwise compliant UEFI firmware that DOESN'T have secure boot as a feature. Granted, this is older hardware, but it's not required.
      KarjamP
  • UEFI

    I recently bought a Windows 8 PC and UEFI slowed the PC down a lot. Then I wanted to install a fresh copy of Windows 8 it kept failing during install due to UEFI.

    I disabled it and now the PC runs perfectly. I'm all for locking Linux out, but when you want to install something like Windows 7 you'll have the same amount of trouble.
    Dreyer Smit
    • UEFI was the slow down?

      I have two computers with UEFI, but one was built by me so I had no trouble installing Windows 8 on it. The other already had Windows 8 Pro on it, so I haven't had to install it.
      grayknight
  • Just say NO to UEFI.

    Buying a computer with UEFI is just like going though the combat zone in a major city yelling "Mug me, I've got cash, MUG ME!!!.

    Once you throw away your freedom of choice, you will never be able to get it back.
    bhaskins@...
  • UEFI

    DRM by the front door.
    Alan Smithie
  • Dominence

    I think that everyone would have extreme issues in buying a car that could only operate on one brand of gasoline.

    Color me Paranoid.
    Leo Regulus
  • UEFI could be trouble...

    I was curious about UEFI before, but now I'm wary. It's starting to sound more and more to me like DRM and less like "security" for the consumer's OS. The only security it provides is for the manufacturer from consumers installing their own OS of choice.
    gmoney1911a3