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Qualcomm demos Windows 8 with a dual-core Snapdragon chip

Microsoft's next operating system in action
Fri Sep 16 2011, 12:18

CHIP DESIGNER Qualcomm has released more information about its upcoming Snapdragon processors for Windows 8 devices, including a video demonstration of one in action.

The San Diego-based company announced earlier this week that the next version of its Snapdragon range will power the very first Windows 8 computers, showing the potential for Windows 8 in the increasingly lucrative mobile device market.

Rick Lau, a staff product manager at Qualcomm confirmed in a video demonstration that the new processors will be dual-core, destroying hopes that the anticipated quad-core Snapdragon S3 will be launched in time for Windows 8's debut. Lau did not give any indication of what kind of speed to expect, but it will likely be around 2.5GHz, easily beating the majority of processors in existing tablets on the market.

Lau said that Qualcomm and Microsoft have been working closely for over a year on the engineering to make the Snapdragon processors a perfect fit for the next iteration of Windows. "Qualcomm will provide one of the best user experiences for Windows 8," he claimed.

The demonstration shows Windows 8 in action on a tablet running on a Snapdragon processor. The device is already turned on before we see it, so we don't get to see the amazing boot times that Microsoft is promising.

Another problem is that the video employs the traditional Windows user interface, rather than the touch optimised Metro interface, which means we don't get to see much of Windows 8's newer features. Of course, that probably won't matter to the half million people who already downloaded the Windows 8 developer preview.

What we do get to see, however, is an updated and redesigned version of Internet Explorer, which Lau said will offer an enhanced user experience. From a cursory glance it doesn't look like much has changed, but we'd likely have to play around with it ourselves to notice the differences.

Lau was also keen to point out the importance of Adobe Flash, which will be able to run on Windows 8 tablets, unlike the Ipad after Apple's decision to pull support for Flash last year. Lau tested out the Flash-based Eco Zoo, which ran smoothly on the Windows 8 tablet he used.

However, Internet Explorer 10 in Metro mode won't support Flash, according to a recent announcement by Microsoft, which seems to want the best of both worlds for Windows 8. This explains why Lau was running the operating system in its traditional mode, despite the Metro interface being more suitable for tablets and other mobile touchscreen devices. µ


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