Microsoft is slowly peeling back the secrecy covers on its Windows 8 on ARM plans.
In a new "Building Windows 8" blog post, officials confirmed that Windows 8 on ARM will, indeed, be available on PCs (and tablets) at the same time as it is on x86 PCs.
From a February 9 blog post from Windows President Steven Sinofsky:
"WOA (Windows on ARM) PCs are still under development and our collective goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64. These PCs will be built on unique and innovative hardware platforms provided by NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, with a common Windows on ARM OS foundation—all running the same Windows OS binaries, a unique approach for the industry. PC manufacturers are hard at work on PCs designed from the ground up to be great and exclusively for WOA."
Exclusively for WOA seems to me to mean that Windows 8 on ARM will be an OEM-only product. In other words, WOA won't be made available in a way that will allow users to load it on other ARM-based tablets and PCs. Though many have assume this, Microsoft officials have never said this.
Update: Yes, indeed, WOA means OEM-only. From later in the same post:
"Partners will provide WOA PCs as integrated, end-to-end products that include hardware, firmware, and Windows on ARM software. Windows on ARM software will not be sold or distributed independent of a new WOA PC, just as you would expect from a consumer electronics device that relies on unique and integrated pairings of hardware and software."
There's also another confirmation in today's post that the Desktop -- i.e., the non-Metro-Style experience based on WinRT -- will, indeed be there on Windows 8 on ARM devices.
From today's post:
"Using WOA 'out of the box' will feel just like using Windows 8 on x86/64. You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same way. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish, the Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer."
Microsoft officials are still not sharing RTM or availability timeframes for Windows 8. Some of Microsoft's PC partners have said that they plan to have WOA devices on shelves in time for this coming holiday season.