Nvidia: 'Genius' for Microsoft to split Windows

Redmond clever to provision Windows for ARM-based tablet devices as it is more likely to succeed than Windows 8 on x86-based mobile devices, CEO reckons.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SAN JOSE--Microsoft is likely to face problems selling Windows 8 on x86-based mobile devices due to a mismatched in user expectations and experience, which is why it is "genius" for them to develop a version for ARM processors, which is likely to be more conducive for tablets, says Nvidia CEO Huang Jen-Hsun.

Speaking at a session during the company's GPU Technology Conference here Thursday, the executive revealed that he was initially sceptical when the software giant announced that it would develop its upcoming Windows operating system (OS) for both x86 and ARM architectures. The OS running on the latter has since been renamed as Windows RT.

However, Huang has change his mind on this as he said it would be difficult to "reposition Windows PC as a tablet".

"If it wants to create a new platform that has virtues in that you can see documents created, always be connected and designed for mobility, then I don't think you can have all these features on a Windows 8 x86 device," the executive stated.

This is the same principle that caused Apple to turn its back on the Mac OS for its tablet device, and choosing to start from scratch to develop iOS for its mobile devices instead, he added.

The Nvidia CEO also pointed out that user expectations might cause Windows 8 to not fare as well as Windows RT. Should applications or processes not run as well on the x86-based tablets, or have missing features that are on desktop PCs, users are "going to go nuts".

On the other hand, should there be missing functionalities or features on Windows RT, consumers can only choose to forgo buying it but will not be upset since they were not expecting these to be present anyway, he explained.

"That's why I think it's clever for them to come up with a new category," Huang said.

Nvidia, along with two other chipmakers Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, have been greenlighted to produce ARM chips for Microsoft's latest OS. There will be limited ARM-based Windows RT tablets entering the market initially though, since each company was only allowed two chip designs each, according to a report by ZDNet Asia's sister site, CNET.

Liau Yun Qing of ZDNet Asia reported from Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, United States.

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