New boot firmware a step toward 64-bit Windows RT

A standards organisation moves the OS closer to 64-bit

A standards organization has created a boot environment for tablets and PCs that could potentially run a 64-bit version of Windows RT.

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Forum announced that its boot firmware specifications will now support ARMv8, a 64-bit processor architecture announced by ARM in 2011. ARM's processors are used in most smartphones and tablets, and chip makers such as Nvidia and Samsung are expected to release 64-bit processors for smartphones and tablets in the future.

Microsoft on Windows 8 and RT requires PCs and tablets to carry a feature called Secure Boot, which prevents a system from being hijacked. The Secure Boot environment is based on UEFI firmware and ARM has already said it is working with Microsoft to develop a 64-bit version of Windows for ARM-based devices. However, it is not yet clear when the OS will come out.

ARM expects 64-bit processors to start shipping later this year or early next year. Most smartphones and tablets today use 32-bit ARM processors.

The UEFI support for ARM 64-bit could be one more step to bringing Windows RT to 64-bit, though the benefits could be invisible to end users, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

"We can have a standardized firmware interface that can be used across PCs and other devices rather than having legacy BIOS," McCarron said.

UEFI has been widely adopted on PCs, so there could be a higher uptake by device makers making x86-compatible Windows tablets, McCarron said.

Only a handful of Windows RT tablets are available, although Acer is expected to release a tablet with the next version of the OS, due out in the second half of this year.

The UEFI specification supports a wide number of OSes and is used on Apple Macs. A large number of Android smartphones and tablets use customized bootloaders based on the kernels and specifications of devices. UEFI is desirable as it may bring some flexibility in mobile-device configurations, McCarron said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Unified Extensible Firmware Interface Forumhardware systemstabletsComponentsprocessors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?