今朝のコンシューマープレビュー版リリースで従来のPC向けバージョン(x86/64)はまたひとつマイルストーンを達成したWindows 8 ですが、Metro スタイルの導入と並ぶ最大の特徴は ARMプロセッサを含む SoC アーキテクチャ向け、つまり iPad やスマートフォンなどと同じ低消費電力ハードウェア向けのバージョンも登場すること。

x86/64版は Windows 7が動くほとんどのPCにそのままインストールして試用できますが、ARM版 (Windows on ARM, WOA)はそもそもハードウェアがないため容易には試せません。というわけでマイクロソフトと各チップメーカーは、一部のWindows 8 アプリ開発者にテスト用の ARM PCを配布するシーディングプログラムを開始します (下に続きます)

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Qualcommの発表によると、配布されるのは Snapdragon S4 MSM8960を搭載したPC (タブレット型含む)。MSM8960といえば1.5GHz - 1.7GHz駆動のデュアルCPUコアに Adreno 225グラフィック、LTE対応などを含んだSoC。

MWC 2012
で発表された各社最先端スマートフォンやタブレットのうち、「WiFi / 3GモデルはTegra 3、LTE版はSnapdragon S4」組で採用されているチップです。またNVIDIAも、マイクロソフトと協力して Tegra 3 搭載の ARM PCを提供することを発表しています。

Windows on ARM と x86/64版の互換性や違いについては以前の記事 (ARM版 Windows 8 の詳細を公表) を参照。QualcommとNVIDIA の発表文は下に掲載しています。

Qualcomm and Microsoft to Provide Developers with Snapdragon-Based Windows on ARM Test PCs

- Companies Provide Systems for Developers to Create Windows Metro Style Apps on Snapdragon-Powered Test PCs -

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its Snapdragon™ processor will be joining Microsoft Corp.'s Windows on ARM developer seeding program. Qualcomm is working with Microsoft to provide test PCs to select developers in order to test and optimize apps for forthcoming Snapdragon-powered Windows on ARM PCs and tablets. This invitation-only program will combine a pre-release version of Windows on ARM with next-generation, high performance Snapdragon S4 test PCs. These test PCs are not representative of commercial form factors or the final Windows on ARM experience; they are designed to give developers early access to building and testing Windows Metro style apps on Qualcomm's latest technology.

The Windows on ARM developer seeding program will help ensure that Windows Metro style apps available in the Windows Store work great on all Windows 8-based PCs, including those with Qualcomm's ARM-compliant Snapdragon processors.

"Microsoft's development tools and the Qualcomm Snapdragon test PCs will enable developers to build and test Metro style apps for Windows on ARM PCs," said Stefan Kinnestrand, director of business planning, Windows Division, Microsoft. "Based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, these systems will equip developers to create Metro style apps and offer a rich set of hardware peripherals that plug in and help enable seamless user experiences on the Windows on ARM platform."

Qualcomm, with Microsoft, is among those leading the shift to anytime, anywhere connectivity. The Snapdragon mobile processor will offer a combination of processing performance, rich multimedia, GPS, high-performance graphics, wireless connectivity and power efficiency with Windows on ARM.

"Qualcomm is committed to the Windows on ARM ecosystem and knows that enabling developers is a crucial factor for its success," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of product management, computing and consumer products at Qualcomm. "We are now providing Snapdragon S4 test PCs with built-in 4G LTE, activated in some regions, to software application developers."

Qualcomm's participation in the Windows on ARM developer seeding program provides select developers with the latest generation Snapdragon S4 test PCs running a pre-release version of Windows on ARM. These test PCs contain Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processor with second-generation high performance, power efficient CPU, hardware accelerated Adreno® graphics, full multimedia, GPS, sensors, and peripherals that will enable development and test of next-generation Windows Metro style apps for the coming wave of Windows on ARM PCs.




Microsoft to Seed Windows 8 Developers, Device Makers with Test PCs
Powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Mobile Processor


BARCELONA, Spain-Feb. 29, 2012-NVIDIA confirmed today that it is working with Microsoft on a program to distribute Windows 8 test PCs to software developers and device manufacturers powered by the Tegra®3 quad-core mobile processor with 4-Plus-1™ architecture.

This seeding program enables these parties to create a rich ecosystem of apps and devices for Windows 8 on ARM-based processors.

"NVIDIA has a long record of supporting software developers working on the cutting edge of innovation," said Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of content and technology at NVIDIA. "We're furthering this tradition by helping to realize the extraordinary potential of Windows
on ARM processors, like Tegra 3."

"Microsoft is excited to partner with NVIDIA to bring developers leading edge Windows on ARM test PCs to support the creation of compelling Metro style app and device experiences for Windows 8," said Aidan Marcuss, Senior Director of Business Planning, Microsoft.