Microsoft has revealed that the next generation operating system will support more than the classic x86 architecture. The software giant revealed that the company will also bake in support for so-called SoCs based on ARM’s processor architecture.

The most likely name of Microsoft’s next generation operating system is ”Windows 8” and even if Microsoft doesn’t confirm this in its statement it is clear that Windows 8 will be a lot different from Windows 7.

During a press conference Microsoft showed how it has baked in support for hardware acceleration of media, Internet browsing, USB  and how it has optimized other program suites for the new architectures, including Microsoft Office will be fully compatible with ARM.

Microsoft pointed out that it will broaden the platform support to several SoC solutions (System on a chip), including Intel’s x86-based circuits but also ARM’s processor architecture where companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instrument and not the least NVIDIA are investing a lot of money.

Today we announced that the next version of Windows will support a new kind of hardware, SoC architectures, that will power the next generation of devices. NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are working on SoC designs based on the ARM architecture. Intel and AMD will continue to innovate on the x86 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, including new SoC or low-power systems.

SoCs have a lot of integrated circuits inside the same package. CPU cores are housed together with graphics processors, dedicated audio and video processors and other chips for additional features. SoCs are very space and energy efficient and works well with mobile units.

When the next generation of Windows appears is uncertain, but the regular Microsoft product is between 2-2.5 years, which means it should arrive in late 2012. How Microsoft’s software partners, that make a living on the x86 platform, reacts to this is so far uncertain.


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