NVIDIA’s Tegra platform combines a low power ARM-based processor with NVIDIA graphics to power ultraportable devices capable of displaying 1080p video over HDMI while using very little power. But ARM processors, which are much more common in cellphones than laptops these days, don’t run Windows. Or rather, Microsoft hasn’t ported Windows XP, Vista, or 7 to run on ARM processors. But Microsoft does have an operating system that runs on ARM: Windows CE, which is the backbone of the Windows Mobile operating system found on a number of smartphones.
While Windows CE can’t run desktop Windows applications, the OS has been around in one form or another for over a decade and there are thousands of mobile applications that will run on Windows CE. It also comes with mobile versions of Word and Excel, as well as a pocket version of Internet Explorer, although mobile versions of the Firefox and Opera web browsers do a better job of rendering many web pages. Windows CE also has a significantly lower storage and memory footprint than Windows, which means it can run well on devices with little RAM and small hard drives or solid state disks.
So while there’s a lot of talk about using Google’s mobile Android operating system on netbooks, NVIDIA thinks that Windows CE is a better fit for Tegra powered devices. The platform is more mature, and NVIDIA mobile business unit manager Mike Rayfield tells Computer World that Android has a “rough user interface.”
Another reason NVIDIA may be leaning toward Windows CE? There’s a rumor going around that Microsoft is using the Tegra platform in its upcoming Zune HD portable media players. Rayfield didn’t exactly confirm or deny that to Computer World, but his non-answer reads suspiciously like a confirmation to me.
via UMPC Portal