Windows 8 might not be running on any ARM-based devices besides tablets until 2013. Notebook builder sources claimed to Digitimes Tuesday that the systems themselves might not be shown until the end of 2012 and wouldn't ship until June 2013, just as Microsoft's OS would be near its expected first anniversary. ASUS and Lenovo were some of the first lining up, and they would "test the water" with full growth expected in 2014.
The extra runway might be to help build up a software base. Windows 8 by its nature won't let Intel-only apps run on ARM systems, leaving early devices without any software. Most if not all of the first Windows 8 devices will be tablets, where the low adoption of older Windows tablets and the need to rewrite the interface as a matter of course will reduce the dependence on legacy apps.
ARM on notebooks could give Microsoft a unique advantage in the notebook space. With Apple so far committed to Intel-based ultraportables like the Air, a Windows 8 notebook could have the thinness and battery life advantages of ARM but still run a desktop-class OS. Earlier attempts at ARM-based notebooks, usually nicknamed smartbooks, have tried using mobile platforms like Android and MeeGo and have usually failed quickly.
Any success could significantly disrupt Intel. Its success in recent years has been based more and more on notebook processors, and losing a significant piece of the market to ARM could compound problems already created by tablets eating away the netbook market.