Windows on Arm (WOA) is the new member of the Windows family. Like Windows Server, Windows Embedded, or Windows Phone, WOA builds on the foundation of Windows, so this means that it has a commonality and shared code with Windows 8.
Two different Windows 8 products
One thing that became apparent with the blog post from Microsoft about WOA is that it is different from Windows 8.
Here are some of the main points from the post:
- WOA PCs are still under development and our collective goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64.
- Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64.
- WOA can support all new Metro style apps, including apps from Microsoft for mail, calendaring, contacts, photos, and storage. WOA also includes industry-leading support for hardware-accelerated HTML5 with Internet Explorer 10.
- Desktop support will be available WOA and Windows 8.
Here is what they are saying. WOA will have one set of PC’s, Windows 8 another. Metro Apps will be available on WOA and Windows 8.
It looks like the dynamics at Microsoft are in a compromised state. While some developers may have wanted to have just one version of Windows 8, the ARM version or WOA, others may have wanted a backward compatible version, using the DOS through Windows7 legacy. Neither side won, or rather both sides won. Each is keeping its own version, but not overlapping with the other.
Here is what one part of the blog says:
“The availability of the Windows desktop is an important part of WOA. The desktop offers you a familiar place to interact with PCs, particularly files, storage, and networking, as well as a range of peripherals.”
Then later they say:
“At the same time, WOA (as with Windows 8) is designed so that customers focused on Metro style apps don’t need to spend time in the desktop.”
Then they finish with:
“Some have suggested we might remove the desktop from WOA in an effort to be pure, to break from the past, or to be more simplistic or expeditious in our approach. To us, giving up something useful that has little cost to customers was a compromise that we didn’t want to see in the evolution of PCs.”
So you have two different development approaches to Windows 8, the traditional one, and the ARM one. This looks confusing to me because they will overlap and it will cause confusion for developers; which brand to develop for? That can’t be good.