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Steve Ballmer: 500 Million People Will Be Using Windows 8 By Next Year

Steven Blum
3

The biggest threat to Android in the near future? Why, it's Windows 8 of course. The ultra-versatile software system is expected to be released on tablets and laptops in October 2012 and Steve Balmer thinks that just a year later, the operating system will have racked up 500 million users. That's a pretty optimistic number, considering the fact that most people haven't even heard of the operating system right now and Microsoft's cache is currently in the dumps.

But I wouldn't rule out Balmer just yet. Apparantly new computers will get an upgrade to Windows 8 for just $15 and the early reviews all say that the software is truly outstanding. Windows 8 will come with Office suite software Android can't touch, Xbox support, Windows driver support and a killer user interface. Here at AndroidPIT, we're a bit worried about what Windows 8 will mean for the future of our beloved Android platform. We wonder if Ballmer's projections will come true or if Android will finally get its act together in the tablet department. But these are fightin' words...

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  • Brennan Yamamoto May 23, 2012 Link

    I really wouldn't worry about microsoft. Yes, microsoft is a great platform, and it's integration into the mobile space is something that I, an android enthusiast like yourself, really would like to see. However, currently, the platform is the industry standard for x86 applications (desktops and laptops), but we need to remember ANDROID is designed for ARM architecture, Windows is designed for x86 architecture. Looking objectively, android, and iOS are the current standards for ARM based operating systems. The two CPU architectures are completely different monsters, and is the reason Microsoft has had so much trouble in the mobile space.

    With that in mind, lets ask ourselves, what makes Windows 7 ANY different from Windows 8? The answer: not much. Believe it or not, people were saying the EXACT same thing during the windows phone 7 release (and look how well that did). The fundamental difference now, is that microsoft is "uniting" the operating system for desktops, laptops (x86), and mobile devices (ARM). The problem is, its virtually impossible to unite CPU architectures that differ so greatly. Its like trying to unite the experience between riding a bike and a skateboard, they can accomplish similar tasks with certain advantages and disadvantages, but the way they are controlled are completely different. In a nutshell, if microsoft wants to break into the mobile space, the OS (and ALL applications) need to be rewritten from the ground up from ARM based architecture, OR hope that x86 based mobile hardware can improve. The latter has already been tried with intels x86 based medfield cpu, as well as with atom based tablet devices (EXOPC, HP Folio), but none of these devices ever took off. We can attribute this to the fundamental limitations of the x86 based architecture: high performance at the cost of high power consumption (terrible battery life) and high heat generation (rely on active cooling measures such as fans, or remain limited by passive cooling measures by limiting the power of the CPU. The bottom line is, trying to make a x86 based CPU that fits in a phone and can provide an equal or superior experience to an ARM based handset is simply impossible--and looking at how quickly ARM based CPUs are evolving, x86 architecture on a mobile device is simply an archaic option.

    This leaves microsoft with one option: redesign the windows operating system to run on ARM architecture. This is their current plan to break into the mobile space. While microsoft was largely sucessful with creating a functional ARM based OS for mobile devices, by the time they got their OS to market, the market was already occupied by two HUGE opponents -- iOS and Android. This is NOT the kind of competition microsoft had to deal with in their x86 unveil of the windows operation system so many years ago. As a result, developer adoption never took of for the operating system, and despite the fact that it's actually quite good, Windows Phone 7 never took off (as we all know).

    Microsoft does, and will continute to, domiate the laptop and desktop market (and I suspect this is where 99.999% of that 500 million projection comes from), and I'm sure Windows 8 will be an excellent upgrade in that respect; however, in order to market their ARM based flavor for phones and tablets, they need developer support, and to do that, they need a customer base. And frankly, they were unsuccesful with WinMo 5, 6, 6.5, and Windows Phone 7, so I see very little reason at all as to why windows 8 will be any different. Yes, there's the whole unified "Metro UI" thing, but those differences are literally only skin deep.

    On a side note perhaps the biggest advantages of an ARM based flavor of windows, woud be a ARM based Microsoft office suite (as you mentioned), but again, this needs to be completely rewritten for the ARM based flavor of windows 8, and this iteration can be only so much better than the established third party offerings for android and iOS. To rewrite a version of microsoft office for an ARM based version of windows 8 that offers even near the functionality of (and compatability with) it's x86 based couterpart will take a lot of resources and a lot of time. If it is accomplished however, this will give quitea few people (myself included) reason to purchase an ARM based windows 8 device. This, IMO, should be microsofts biggest selling point on the tablet side...but this is only one of the things I would institute if I were given the opportunity to straighten out the boneheads working at microsoft.

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  • Ti Mo May 23, 2012 Link

    I'm not gonna buy Windows 8 for my PC.. I've had Windows all my life, bought windows 7...
    And next time I buy a Laptop I'll buy one without OS and put Ubuntu on it.
    F Windows. Im sick of it.
    No more Microsoft except for XBox :P

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  • Todd Knowles May 25, 2012 Link

    I would buy apple first. balmer can get on these balls

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