ARM and Microsoft Working on 64-Bit Windows for ARM

Windows for ARMv8 Processors Already in the Works

by Anton Shilov
11/01/2012 | 10:42 PM

Even though system-on-chips based on 64-bit ARMv8 architecture are about two years away, ARM Holding said that Microsoft Corp. is already developing a 64-bit version of Windows for ARM. It is unknown when the new OS is set to hit the market and whether it would be based on Windows 8 or already on Windows 9 technology.

 

"ARM works with all its OS and ecosystem partners to inform them on next generation technologies and enable their support," said Nandan Nayampally, head of ARM's processor marketing division, in an email statement, reports IDG News Service.

While currently available Windows RT operating system for ARM-based computers or tablets has similar look and feel as Windows 8, it is a 32-bit operating system, thus requires appropriate drivers and cannot address more than 4GB of memory. Partly because of 32-bit software limitations, Windows RT cannot address the market of high-performance systems, even though advanced system-on-chips with decent processing capabilities are due next year.

ARM partners are expected to roll-out their first SoCs featuring Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores with ARMv8 64-bit architecture sometimes in late 2013 or in 2014. The Cortex-A50-series cores have a number of performance advantages over currently available Cortex-A9 or Cortex-A15 and are fully compatible with 32-bit environment and therefore can be used with Windows RT operating system. Still, to take full advantage of their capabilities, a 64-bit operating system along with new drivers and software will be needed.

Both ARM and Microsoft are tight-lipped about specific features of 64-bit Windows for ARM and exact timeframe of availability. The main intrigue is whether the new OS will be enhanced Windows RT or something brand new, which will be based on the core of the next-generation Windows 9.