Job Posting Hints at New Microsoft Surface Device Running Windows on ARM
Microsoft’s history in the mobile space is marred by a myriad of failed ventures. For multiple reasons, Windows Mobile failed to gain significant ground in the mobile OS space against the likes of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. It’s safe to say that the Windows Mobile is dead, at least officially, as the company has dropped its ambitions in building up the mobile OS. However, Microsoft hasn’t abandoned testing out devices with ARM-based processors just yet.
After experiencing a flop with 2012’s ARM-powered Surface RT, Microsoft started over with Windows on ARM which brings the full version of Windows to ARM processors. The project is still in development as Microsoft is working with Qualcomm to bring the first Windows 10 devices to market with the Snapdragon 835 SoC.
Now, a job listing seems to hint that Microsoft is currently looking to hire staff with experience developing on Qualcomm’s next high-end SoC in order to integrate it with Windows on ARM. This implies that the company may have plans to build its own ARM-powered Surface hardware.
WinFuture.de found that at the Dice.com job portal, there was a short notice ad in which ABAL Technologies was looking for employees for the Redmond, Washington site. The publication notes that ABAL has been working for Microsoft for a long time as a human resources service provider and it also lends a number of employees to the technology giant. The report adds that the naming in particular of Redmond as the site location suggests that ABAL is indeed looking for employees for Microsoft, rather than for itself, as the headquarters of ABAL are on the U.S. East Coast in the state of New Jersey.
WinFuture.de continues by stating that ABAL was looking for a “Hardware Test Engineer” or “Manufacturing Engineer” to test the use of wireless technologies based on the Wi-Fi 802.11ax standard. It stated: “In addition to the Snapdragon 835, which bears the internal model number MSM8998, the job advertisement also features the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 […] which is also called SDM845 internally.”
This confirms that Microsoft and Qualcomm are already working on the use of Qualcomm’s next-generation SoC as the base for new devices running Windows 10 on ARM. The job listing also stated that the company is specifically looking for people who are familiar with “complex” devices such as “smartphones” and the “Xbox.”
WinFuture.de‘s report found that ABAL requires each job applicant to be prepared to travel to China several times a year. This will be done to monitor the production of equipment at a plant in Suzhou, which is designated as “JDM1”. The publication notes that the plant “JDM1” is a site owned by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Pegatron. The story gets even more interesting when considering the fact that Pegatron manufactures the Surface tablets and also builds the Xbox for Microsoft. The job listing also states that in the next six months alone, the applicant will be required to go to Suzhou for 2-4 weeks at a time.
Overall, when we consider the job listing in conjunction with previous rumors, it seems clear that Microsoft is working on developing its own ARM-powered Surface device, which will be powered by Windows on ARM. Right now, though, it’s anybody’s guess what the rumored device will actually look like. Will it be a dual-screen folding device code-named Andromeda, as rumors have stated in the past few months? Or will it be an ARM-powered laptop, or even something completely different? Either way, we’re waiting for Microsoft’s next move in the ARM space.