updated 07:40 pm EST, Tue February 7, 2012
Details contradict early rumors
Windows 8 on ARM may retain the same desktop as the standard OS, despite a number of early rumors that suggested otherwise. In a blog post on Microsoft's Windows 8 development site, several of Microsoft's lead program managers make references to both desktop and Metro-style apps for system-on-a-chip (SoC) hardware.
Unofficial reports that circulated late last year claimed Microsoft was planning to omit the traditional Windows desktop from the ARM edition, forcing users to utilize the touch-native Metro UI. The sources did admit that the issue was contentious within the company, however.
The blog post sheds light on the challenges of running desktop apps on SoC hardware, which is said to require a new approach to standby operation. Desktop apps "presented a tougher challenge" due to programming that provides access to all system resources while in the foreground and no access when a traditional PC is asleep.
Separate reports had suggested that Microsoft's Office suite may not be reprogrammed as true Metro-style apps when the next major release arrives on the market. Sources claimed that the Office apps would have to run in a restricted desktop mode to optimize power consumption.
Aside from the references to a Windows desktop on SoC devices, Microsoft has yet to explicitly confirm the particular details for ARM hardware. [via ZDNet]