In an interesting change of strategy, Microsoft will be dumping the desktop version of Windows 8 for installations on ARM tablets. Microsoft had previously said that all versions of Windows 8 would have both the Metro and traditional desktop UIs, allowing them to be “all things to all people”.
In a way this change makes sense. "Legacy" software written
for the x86 version of Windows wasn’t going to run on ARM chipsets anyways
unless they were rewritten. Subsequent announcements had provided further
separation between ARM tablets and other Windows 8 devices. In September Microsoft announced that only the desktop version of Windows 8 would support Flash, and that Windows 8 tablets wouldn’t even load the desktop environment unless it
was specifically launched by the user, essentially relegating the legacy
desktop to nothing more than another app on Windows 8 tablets. They simply won't be supporting the desktop UI "app".
This means that if you were hoping to run Photoshop CS7 or play World of Warcraft on your tablet you will have to shop for an x86 version. On the other hand, we’ve already seen touch-based versions of Photoshop and other productivity software ship, and you can bet that Microsoft will have and Office Suite ready to go from day one. This also may make the ARM/Metro UI tablets a better competitor against the iPad and Android tablets; analysts feel that Microsoft will be late enough to the tablet party that they’ll have to really hit a home run to start regaining market share.
Does this impact anyone’s decision on a Windows 8 tablet? Do you prefer to just have Metro on a tablet, or will you be looking for an x86 version to run your existing software? Let us know below.