updated 03:25 pm EST, Wed February 1, 2012
Windows 8 desktop may get special-case scenarios
New leaks have hinted that Windows 8 could make important gestures to catch certain users. Although it's still thought by The Verge that the regular Windows 8 desktop won't be on ARM, it will purportedly kick in for Internet Explorer and Office 15. The restriction would in part be to keep traditional Windows apps from draining the battery, since they can't suspend themselves like Windows 8's new Metro apps.
More officially, Microsoft has detailed a way for developers to force the use of Flash now that it won't be in the Metro UI. Developers will have the option of using an HTML header or meta tag to jump to the conventional version of the browser when Flash, or another plugin, is necessary. Microsoft is discouraging developers from using it as a crutch and wants it to be used only when HTML5 or other regular web code won't work.
It's not known if ARM-based Windows 8 systems will support Flash. The desktop OS is exempt from Adobe's plans to quit Flash, but it normally only supports desktop Flash on Intel-based hardware.
Both steps could help soften the blow of some major policy changes at Microsoft, which is trying to shed some of its legacy support to modernize a years-old platform. ARM owners may still be frustrated, since by their nature they can't run the thousands of Intel-based Windows apps. Native Metro apps may also be confined to Microsoft's store and take away Windows' previous flexibility.