One of the biggest questions discussed by tech experts these days is whether or not people will abandon the popular Windows 7 operating system (OS) and download the Windows 8 upgrade, due for release sometime this fall.
Well, now one major hardware maker, Hewlett-Packard (HP), says it’s not interested in selling Windows 8 tablets based on the ARM chip architecture.
First off, let’s be clear — this doesn’t mean HP won’t build Windows 8 tablets. However, it does mean that in the short term there won’t be any Windows 8 tablets made by the company. That’s because early Windows 8 tablet computers will all be using Windows 8 RT, a special version of the OS optimized for use with ARM chips built by Motorola, Qualcomm, and Nvidia.
Is this a big deal? In one word, yes. It indicates that HP, one of Microsoft’s most critical hardware partners, is not willing to adapt its own hardware for Windows 8 RT. That could be seen by many experts and consumers as a dismissal of Windows 8.
It also means that we may not see Windows 8 tablets built by HP on store shelves for some time (perhaps not until 2013).
For its part HP says it simply prefers the Intel x86 architecture over ARM and insists that customers have told it to stick with the former. “The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future,” said an HP spokesperson.
But should we believe HP, or is there something more to its decision? There is the chance, after all, that the company is taking revenge on Microsoft, which recently unveiled Surface, its own tablet PC.
Insiders have suggested that major PC makers like HP (as well as Acer, Asus, and Samsung) are angry with Microsoft for building a product that will directly compete with their own devices.
Regardless, news of HP’s decision does not bode well for Windows 8, set for release in October 2012.