In a rather surprising statement, Hewlett Packard (HP), the world’s largest seller of personal computers, has said that it will be making a paradigm shift from tablets based on ARM devices once the next Microsoft Windows operating system (Windows 8) is launched. Instead, it will shift to x86 chip architecture chips like the ones made popular by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). This decision will mean that Intel and AMD are likely to see an increase in sales considering the market base of HP. In addition, it shows that Microsoft cannot rely too heavily on old partners in the personal computer market to market its latest technical foray. It is also speculated that the reason behind Microsoft releasing its own tablet was because HP backed out, though the company maintains that it was because of positive input from users. HP’s justification for the shift is the strong, existing base of x86 products which are immensely widely popular with users.
With a potential partner like HP backing out, Microsoft’s plans to control Apple iPad might have just gone haywire, as the number of ARM devices running Windows (the RT variant) just plummeted. Initially, Windows RT was released only to a few developers to ensure quality but it appears to have worked against them. However, some analysts say that a reduction in the development samples is not a negative if the released devices are of superior quality and suggest buying Microsoft shares.
HP says that the first tablet it is going to release with Windows 8 is for a business market. While there was initially a thought of developing an ARM device with Qualcomm chipsets and Windows RT OS, deliberations led to a decision to focus on the other side first. One of the main reasons why HP has chosen to stick with the x86 architecture is the plethora of applications supported by the chipset. While the ARM devices can run only applications for Windows RT and Windows 8, x86 devices have the entire existing Windows applications base at their disposal.
Last week, Microsoft had released its own tablet running Windows RT, breaking the tradition of partnering with hardware developers to run its software. The company stated that the RT version will be up for grabs when Windows 8 goes on sale but it appears that the x86 version will take a further three months.