Do you fancy an ARM processor in your next notebook? CUPP Computing apparently thinks that you could use one anyway. Having just announced the completion of a prototype machine capable of accepting both ARM and x86 processors running unique operating systems concurrently, it seems that this may be ARM’s chance to break into the desktop computing market dominated by the current x86 architecture.
Intel’s and AMD’s x86 processors have long dominated desktop and mobile computing, but mostly because of Microsoft’s decision to have Windows run only on x86 and no other architecture. However, there is much the ARM architecture has to offer for general-purpose computing, especially when one talks into account the low energy requirements of such processors.
Unfortunately, ARM has one huge obstacle to face in getting its processors onto the desktops and notebooks of today: the lack of support for Windows. With easily more than 80% of the world running on Microsoft’s OS for their desktop or mobile computing needs, the situation has reached a point where anything which is not supported by Windows is often dismissed as having little practical value.
That situation is set to change with CUPP Computing’s new prototype machine, though. The company’s prototype, also dubbed as the Computicator, features a unique platform which combines both a conventional x86 processor (Intel Core 2 Duo, in this case) and a Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex A8-based processor clocked at 720MHz and integrated with 512MB of RAM. To top off the package, the Computicator comes with a single 320GB hard disk and a 16-inch display, giving it a laptop-like appearance.
But the real draw of CUPP Computing’s Computicator is the device’s ability to run two operating systems concurrently without virtualization, a feat which has yet to be achieved in current desktop computing standards. By imputing a certain keyboard command, the system will be able to instantly switch between Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu LXDE (sometimes known as Lubuntu) on the fly, without the need for rebooting, no doubt due to the unique ability of the Computicator to operate two different architectures concurrently.
As the device is still a prototype, there is no mention of any availability date. However, it does set the stage for some major changes in the desktop computing market, especially where the CPU is concerned. Will CUPP Computing’s innovation be the push that ARM needs to make a presence into an area where x86 still rules supreme? Only time will tell.