In a conference call with investors this week, ARM CEO Warren East said that ARM-based tablets and other devices based on Windows 8 were superior both to Android tablets and to Windows 8 devices that will run on Intel-type platforms. It was the first major public statement about Microsoft's thus-far-mysterious ARM-based Windows 8 versions from someone in the know in quite some time.
East said that Android tablet sales so far have been disappointing—though, to be fair, Android-based tablets have steadily eaten away at Apple's iPad market share. Perhaps East is surprised that Android hasn't already overrun Apple, as has been the case in the smartphone market.
But East is upbeat about Windows 8.
"Consumers are familiar with Microsoft, and very familiar with Windows, and they're less familiar with an Android environment," he said. "Microsoft has an awareness advantage with consumers that the Android folks didn't have. It's up to Microsoft how well they're going to exploit that advantage. But I think that's a fundamental difference."
As for the coming battle of Intel- and ARM-based Windows 8 devices, East says that Intel is in a tough spot, given the ARM platform's superior mobility, form-factor, and battery-life advantages.
"One of the hurdles that [Intel] has to overcome is the fact that every day there are 700,000 Android phones activated around the ARM architecture, and the application developers are working on creating applications that run on ARM," he said. "So Intel [is] going to have to compete with the 20 or so ARM licensees who are very actively supplying apps processors. This is really a question for Intel as to how well they think they're going to be able to overcome those hurdles."