Microsoft will use CES 2011 to launch a version of Windows that can play nicely with ARM architecture mobile chips for the first time.

ARM-based chips are produced by the likes of Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Sharp and Samsung, and can be found in many mobile devices including phones and tablets. The Hummingbird chip in the Nexus S is ARM-based for example, as is the Apple A4 in the iPad, and also the ubiquitous Snapdragon that seems to pop up in pretty much every Android smartphone announced at the moment.

The new Windows version would be designed to work with the limited battery of mobile devices and allow the tech giant to compete with the likes of Apple and Google, who both have operating systems that work with ARM architecture with iOS and Android.

Traditionally Microsoft has used Intel X86 architecture for its Windows Platform, but it's thought that cross-chip compatibility could lead to the Redmond-based company gaining 10 to 20 per cent of the tablet market next year, where 50 million devices could be sold.