According to Microsoft-watcher Paul Thurrott, Microsoft may be working toward a future where Windows 8 tablets ship without the Windows desktop. Users of these ARM-based devices would be limited to the Metro interface. This would be a significant departure from Redmond’s previous “no compromises” strategy that would have provided users both operating environments on ARM systems.
If true, Microsoft will have essentially bifurcated the Windows 8 product into two completely different lines. The x86 users would have Metro and the regular desktop, but could ARM users get by in just Metro? it is unclear what this means for convertible tablet devices, but it’s probably still going to come down to what chip a device is running.
Removing the Windows desktop from ARM devices could allow them to be marketed differently. They would be the iPad competitor that Microsoft has been thus far unable to deliver. It would also have the added benefit of simplifying user interaction with the device. Do you think a Windows 8 tablet without the desktop will compare favorably to the iPad?