In the wake of ARM announcement of the upcoming 2014 ARM Cortex-A50 cores, ARM's first 64-bit processors, the company had more big news to share.
Ian Forsyth, program manager at ARM, announced this week that Microsoft was onboard and the two companies were working together closely to make sure one or more versions of Windows support the new iteration of the low-power architecture.
Nandan Nayampally, head of ARM's processor marketing division, wrote to PC World in an email, "ARM works with all its OS and ecosystem partners to inform them on next generation technologies and enable their support."
The current version of Windows 8 for ARM chips -- Windows RT -- only supports 32-bit chips. Likewise, Windows Server 2012 is expected to bring ARM server chip support -- but no 64-bit support. That's not much of a problem because, as mentioned, 64-bit ARM CPUs won't land for another two years.
Early retail Windows RT products include Microsoft's Surface and ASUSTek Vivo Tab RT, both of which use NVIDIA quad-core, 32-bit Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Dell XPS 10 and Samsung P8510 Ativ Tab instead use the dual-core variety of Qualcomm Snapdragon 4, also a 32-bit chip.
x86 software does not run natively on ARM architecture chips, or vice versa. That means that any application you want to run will need to have been freshly recompiled for Windows on ARM (WOA).
The grunt work is not limited to recompilation. Microsoft will have a lot of hard work ahead looking to port and optimize Windows 8 or its successor to work with the new ARMv8 64-bit instruction set extensions.