Microsoft unveils ‘Windows on a mobile’
New design allows full operating system to run on a mobile device
Microsoft has unveiled its plans to build its next version of Windows around chips designed by British chip-maker ARM Holdings.
In a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas - one of the most important technology trade shows in the world - Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, said the next version of Windows, likely to be named Windows 8, would support "systems on a chip".
These differ from conventional chip design because they merge the different chips used by most PCs to process graphics and data into one, thus saving power.
The news is significant because it signals Microsoft's intent to try and establish itself in the mobile computing market. Nearly 80 per cent of mobile phones, including the iPhone, are built on ARM's 'system on a chip' design. Allowing Windows to run on such a chip means a full version of the desktop operating system will "be everywhere on every kind of device without compromise".
"This is an important step for Microsoft because customers expect the full range of Windows functions in any device," Ballmer said. "Windows PCs will continue to adapt and evolve."
The announcement also comes as something of a snub to Intel. Windows has thus far been based on chips designed by the American microchip firm.
Mike Angiulo, hardware vice-president for Windows, also gave a demonstration of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint running on a tablet-sized PC. Microsoft has not announced when the next Windows will be released. ·
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