Will ARM Forever Change Windows And The Desktop?

It seems that Qualcomm is determined to use Windows 8 to launch a major initiative that brings it away from mobile-only solutions and into the hearts of PC users.

Qualcomm recently announced they were working on home PC solution that works on Qualcomm processors but it hasn’t stopped there.

In a recent article at Information Weekly, Qualcomm talked further about the future of laptops and how they will change thanks to the innovations of phone/mobile technologies.

“The notion of instant on, always on, always connected, always updated … that idea is in your smartphone and we’re going to increasingly see it in the computing space,” said Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs during a presentation to analysts on Thursday.

The Snapdragon is already powering many Android and Windows Phone devices but the company is convinced that a new breed of laptops will also take advantage of these mobile-inspired features.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile chipset already powers a number of Android and Windows Phone devices, but Jacobs believes it could also be a fit for a new breed of laptops that will take advantage of a number of Windows 8 features and capabilities inspired by smartphones.

Qualcomm says that today’s laptops have large batteries, and a massive charger. Personally this sounds like a bit of an exaggeration but the company’s point was that more users are switching to ultra-light machines or even convertible tablet/laptop machines.

In late 2012 Qualcomm plans to be there to offer similar solutions like this but with always-on technology that gives them a special edge over the x86 solutions.

With Qualcomm processors Windows 8 will always be connected to the cloud even on Standby and can offer an experience that updates information and keeps you informed the instant you open your machine thanks to mobile-inspired technology. Another area where Qualcomm sees change is the inclusion of built-in 3G and 4G solutions directly into laptops both by Qualcomm and other vendors.

The article really was an interesting read but it seemed less like fact and more of a carefully worded sales pitch by Qualcomm. I have no doubt that Windows 8 will have laptops that have mobile-inspired features including the possibility of internal 3G or 4G. I still do have my doubts that Qualcomm will offer a better experience than what we currently can get with x86 machines.

With an x86 laptop you have backwards compatibility for legacy programs and with ARM (Qualcomm) you are stuck with Metro-only apps. This is perfectly fine for basic user machines or more casual tablets. I still am uncertain about what role ARM will play in the laptop/desktop market though.

Windows 8 will change the landscape by offering a Windows solution that goes beyond x86, but I still think many vendors will stick to x86 applications over x86/ARM apps for Metro. The only way this is going to change is if Microsoft offers incentive to get developers to focus more on Metro apps and move ‘desktop mode’ into more of a ‘legacy’ status.

If Microsoft intends to eventually make Metro it’s only interface and retired ‘desktop’ in future versions of Windows, this move might make sense.

The future of computing is certainly on the verge of revolution and the direction that this revolution takes is still a little unknown. How we respond to change now will determine the future of computer technology and I am fully behind Metro for certain purposes, but I’m also rather attached to the desktop and not ready to see it go.

Do you think that Qualcomm laptops are a recipe for success or do you plan to stick behind the x86 platform for laptops and desktop? Will ARM and Metro mark the end of the desktop? Share your thoughts below!

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