TI offers rare demo of Windows 8 Explorer on newest ARM chip

Texas Instruments offered one of the most interactive demonstrations of Windows 8 on ARM to date. But that's not saying a lot.

Bill Crean, an OMAP product marketing manager at TI, demonstrated Windows 8 Explorer running on its OMAP4470 ARM processor.
Bill Crean, an OMAP product marketing manager at TI, demonstrated Windows 8 Explorer running on its OMAP4470 ARM processor. Brooke Crothers

LAS VEGAS--Texas Instruments is offering one of the most revealing demos of Windows 8 on ARM yet at CES.

That's not saying a lot, though, as demos of Microsoft's next operating system on ARM processors have been extremely restrictive, if nonexistent to date in public (Nvidia's untouchable, relatively static CES demo is behind closed glass). But TI pushed the boundaries a bit in a demo for CNET at CES.

The demo tapped TI's freshly minted OMAP4470 ARM processor , according to Bill Crean, an OMAP product marketing manager.

Needless to say, I was not permitted to take video. But TI's Crean demonstrated live scrolling with Windows 8 Explorer on the CNN news site. Scrolling was fluid and I didn't see the jerkiness that I do get, by the way, with my Verizon-Motorola XyBoard tablet on Android 3.2.

Again, that's not revealing a lot, but Windows 8 on ARM is a very touchy subject for Microsoft. For the first time, it is porting mainstrem Windows to an ARM platform and there have been reports that it may be late.

Texas Instruments also reiterated details about the next-generation OMAP5 chip and demonstrated it running Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

OMAP5, due by 2013, will implement TI's newest take on ARM's Big Little concept . Roughly translated that means putting "big" high-performance processor cores next to "small" power-efficient specialized cores on one chip.

OMAP5 will put two high-performance ARM Cortex A15 cores next to more power-efficient M4 cores in addition to a dual-core Imagination PowerVR SGX544 GPU and a collection of specialized accelerators.

And what about that OMAP4470, slated to appear in tablets and phones this year? That chip is rated at 1.8GHz, 20 percent faster than the 4460. TI has also tweaked the memory circuitry to wring out more performance and included a faster PowerVR SGX544 GPU, which TI is also using in OMAP5. In fact, the 4470 can be seen as a stepping stone to OMAP5.

TI's demo scrolled through the CNN Web site running Windows 8 Explorer on ARM.
TI's demo scrolled through the CNN Web site running Windows 8 Explorer on ARM. Brooke Crothers
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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