Kicking off the Microsoft event at MWC last week, president of Windows and Windows Live, Steven Sinofsky, launched the “Consumer Preview” beta version of Windows 8, before its anticipated official full version launch this coming autumn.
With Android having scaled rapidly from smartphones to tablets, and Google Inc. looking to gain traction for its Chrome OS in netbooks, Microsoft has realized it must move fast if it is to retain its software dominance in PCs, as well as elsewhere across the compute continuum. Windows 8 is the firm's first major play at coming up with a unified operating system that can scale across all levels of devices, from computers to tablets, consoles, phones and more.
Especially exciting with this Windows launch is that for the first time, the software stack will also be available on ARM architecture, not just x86 devices. For consumers, this means that the choice becomes a software decision, pure and simple, without the extra complications of having to take the hardware into account when opting for an operating system preference.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.