Don’t expect to see many dual-boot Android, Windows 8 tablets

While it’s nice to imagine what Windows 8 would look like on a tablet like the HP TouchPad, the truth is that you probably won’t be able to install Microsoft’s upcoming operating system on any existing tablets with ARM-based processors.

Windows 8/HP TouchPad

Microsoft has no plans to sell an installable version of Windows on ARM directly to consumers. Instead, if you want a Windows 8 device you’ll have to buy a device that comes preloaded with the software, much the way you have to buy an iPad if you want a tablet running Apple’s mobile operating system.

Even if hackers did figure out how to install Windows 8 on existing devices, it would be difficult getting drivers for cameras, WiFi, touchscreens, graphics, and other features. It would also probably be illegal to distribute an installable version of Windows 8.

OK, so what about going the other way around and buying a Windows 8 tablet and then installing Android or another operating system on it?

It looks like you may be out of luck there too.

That’s because the Windows 8 hardware certification requirements actually forbid device makers from enabling custom boot modes. Basically the bootloader on any device that ships with Windows 8 on ARM will be able to boot Windows… and nothing else.

Theoretically hackers may find a security flaw that they can exploit in order to run unsupported code. It’s been known to happen on other devices such as the iPad or NOOK Tablet. But Microsoft certainly isn’t going to make things easy.

We may still see devices that can dual boot Windows 8 and other operating systems. But they’ll probably have x86 processors, not ARM chips.

If Intel continues to reduce power consumption and improve performance in its mobile processors, that may not be a big problem. But for now if you want a device which offers long battery life with a relatively small battery, ARM designs are still in the lead.

via xda-developers and Software Freedom Law Center

  • Bill Russell

    I don’t know why microsoft would _really_ care if you install android, ubuntu, or whatever on a tablet. In fact, its stupid not to encourage it.
    You’ve already bought one so they’ve collected their license $$$. In fact, the more people that buy them for any reason is good for them. You can smash the thing if you want. No problem – go buy another. MS won’t mind. 
    The iPad is different – a complete custom product with the ipad name on it and apple profits off the hardware too. If they allowed android on it, they’d worry it would tarnish their image, if seen running unstable custom ROMs.

    • Mobile1

      Not to mention lost profit from selling all matter of goods through iOS devices.

    • CyberGusa

       Part of Windows 8 goals is increasing security and part of the reason for increasing security is to better secure the platform for things like better DRM support…  Same reason why Netflix HD app requires a locked boot loader to work.

      All of which would mean a better chance for Windows 8 to get pay for content. Along with Enterprise and other business usages.

      The other reason includes many simply don’t trust the ARM platform yet and want to minimize chance of piracy, etc. until at least they’ve established themselves in the market.

      While ARM itself has traditionally been a made to order platform.  Most people don’t jailbreak or root and use the device as is most of the time.  This is further complicated by the fact ARM is only now getting to the point it can properly run a desktop OS.  So they also don’t want to compromise the system in any way that could effect the performance and reduce the chances of people wanting to use Windows on ARM.

      This leads to a reason they’ll have in common with Apple’s closed system.  Having control means they can help ensure a better level of support and more guarantee of performance.  Reducing fragmentation and other issues.  Something as already mention is more of a concern on ARM.

      Though it’s also likely because no one can complain about monopoly on ARM with so many other choices available and MS just wants to maximize their chances and reduce the effect of the presently dominant competition. 

      After all, there are very few Windows users in the general consumer mobile market and market momentum is something that will be hard to over come with so many used to Android and iOS and Windows 8 still has to prove itself.

      • turn_self_off

         Crazy thing is that MS have removed the one thing that could draw enterprise interest, Active directory integrated remote admin.

    • turn_self_off

       MS is trying to avoid handing Linux the one thing that is making Linux on ARM bothersome by its absence, standardized device management.

      Right now, each SoC had its own variation on a theme for managing device features and peripherals. MS is dictating a set ARM based platform using a setup pretty similar to x86 desktops that all WoA devices is required to use. This however would make it downright simple to plop in Android, Ubuntu and similar. And could in the short run provide access to more software than there will be for WoA at launch.

      In other words, MS is building a new playground for themselves. And do not want other kids on the block there and play without their say so. This because said kids have a stronger reputation than MS in the neighborhood…

  • Steven

    My growing anticipation for Windows 8 has suddenly vanished.

  • animatio

    it was this way all the time of win ce/mobile. win8 only the follow up of it, why changing the philosophy? ms never did by free will

  • Striderevil

    As long as I get a system that is fast, not closed in like apple, not a security risk like Android whose apps are hardly monitored while most apps I’ve installed ask for way more security permissions than is required, syncs easily to the office network and those outdated XP devices while communicating with my already existing win7 at home with smooth functionality and easy access to office apps like word, powerpoint and one note, I’m good. The only reason why win phones are not adopted is cause the hardware they come with is pathetic or mediocre at best. Many who buy tablets buy into hardware as well and at $599 they expect the latest the market has to offer. Example of mediocre hardware is the Toshiba’s EX10 tablet which is mediocre and is definitely not going to be popular.

  • Cyber Shocked

    These bastages are so blatantly greedy they can’t see past the nose on their faces!  MS doesn’t want their OS on Android tablets?  Idiots!!!  MS has the power to wipe ignorant Android off the face of the earth and they don’t want to?  Fools!  Imbeciles!!!