ARM-based Windows 8 tablets to get Office after all

Microsoft plans to produce a special version of Windows 8 and Office for touch-oriented ARM-based devices

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Likely anticipating criticism for maintaining a desktop component in the user interface, Sinofsky wrote: "Some have suggested we might remove the desktop from WOA in an effort to be pure, to break from the past, or to be more simplistic or expeditious in our approach. To us, giving up something useful that has little cost to customers was a compromise that we didn't want to see in the evolution of PCs."

Likewise, reengineering Office applications for WOA is no small endeavor from an engineering perspective, but Microsoft believed that WOA PCs must have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as compatibility with Metro apps, access to Windows Store, and hardware-accelerated IE10, so that the machines can be considered "no-compromise" products, he wrote.

Among the differences with existing, traditional Windows PCs is that WOA PCs won't be turned off, nor have hibernate or sleep options, but rather operate in what Microsoft calls "connected standby" power mode, like cell phones. When the screen is on, the device operates at full power and when it's dark it goes into a very low-power mode. System-on-a-chip devices based on x86-architecture processors will also feature connected standby.

WOA PCs will come pre-installed with the OS, drivers, and necessary software. The OS will not be available for purchase as a stand-alone component. WOA fixes and applications will come via the OS, Microsoft Update, and Windows Store.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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