Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Thu 12th Mar 2009 05:32 UTC, submitted by caffeine deprived
Hardware, Embedded Systems One Laptop Per Child is planning to end the production of its XO-1 laptop as well as drop AMD's x86 Geode processor. OLPC intends to replace these with a low-powered ARM alternative in the XO-2 laptop, which is slated for release in about 18 months. Even though the current XO-1 model consumes a mere five watts, OLPC feels thats the biggest problem. "We're seeing some very impressive system-on-chip designs that provide both fundamentally low-power demands and the kind of fine-grained power management ... in the XO-1," said Ed McNierney, chief technology officer at OLPC. Though using ARM architecture will reduce power consumption, it puts using the full-fledged Windows OS on their laptops in jeopardy. The company is currently wrestling Microsoft in order to try to get them to develop a full version of Windows to be able to run on ARM processors. It's not likely Microsoft will budge on the subject as ingrained as x86 is and how seemingly little there is in it for them, but we've been surprised before.
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Phoenix will carry Windows to ARM
by mnem0 on Thu 12th Mar 2009 12:30 UTC
mnem0
Member since:
2006-03-23

Microsoft has been working on a new compiler backend for years, called Phoenix:
http://www.infoq.com/news/2007/08/phoenix-dotnet

It will support x86, x64, CIL for .NET and also ARM. It's mentioned here as a research project but in reality it's already been taken over by dev div (who will almost certainly integrate it into VS at some yet unknown point in time).

The x86/x64 backends are _very_ mature by now, and they will be used to compile the final version of Windows 7. That doesn't tell you anything about the state of the ARM backend bits of course but given the business pressure I can imagine that Microsoft is definitely considering throwing some money at this.

So basically the "ARM triumph card" that OSS currently holds must be played NOW; do not count on Microsoft sitting idle on this one.

The best thing would be if OSS did an agressive land grab in the ARM netbook area, proving that it can deliver a nice desktop experience (with Flash, Firefox, Skype and decent video playback perf etc). Once the netbook vendors have experienced the power and freedom of the OSS toolchain they won't let it go.

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