Windows 8 to arrive on 32 new tablets?

Agencies looking to adopt tablets while staying within their Windows foundations could have a lot of choices starting this fall, when Microsoft is expected to flood the market with tablets to coincide with its release of Windows 8.

The company has been working with manufacturers to develop new Windows 8 tablets, and 32 of them could be released by the end of the year, according to a report in DigiTimes.

In September, Microsoft will release Windows 8 for x86 platforms, to be followed later by its version for ARM processors, Windows RT, according to Digitimes, which cited sources among Taiwan-based manufacturers.

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Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asustek Computer and Toshiba are producing tablets, some of which are expected to be priced as low as $300, according to the story, which said Microsoft and chip-maker Intel are aiming to cut significantly into the Apple iPad’s 70 percent share of the tablet market.

Microsoft hasn’t given an official release date for Windows 8, although it generally has been reported to be in October. The company did, however, recently describe the versions it will release of the new operating system, which promises a markedly different interface from past Windows OSes, whether the user is on a tablet, laptop or desktop PC.

Brandon LeBlanc, the company’s communications manager, wrote in a blog post that the company will release a consumer and Pro edition for x86/64 machines, along with a versions for ARM.

All versions will allow users to switch back and forth from touchscreen and keyboard-and-mouse use, LeBlanc wrote, and will be able to use apps from the Windows Store. As you might expect, the company says the Pro version is more suited to power users and professionals, with features including encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity.

Windows RT, also known as Windows on ARM, will represent something of a new frontier for Microsoft and “will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life,” LeBlanc wrote.

It will first arrive in a single edition only on preinstalled ARM PCs and tablets, and will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

New apps will be developed on Windows Runtime, or WinRT, which the company will release in September, LeBlanc said. WinRT will be “the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, Web-connected apps of all kinds,” he wrote.

Among those apps will be Kinect for Windows, released in February, which brings Xbox 360-like motion control to Windows machines.

One company, InfoStrat Advanced Technology Group, has developed the Interaction Framework for Windows, which accepts inputs from a mouse, stylus, touch, voice or motion-sensing device, and could be used with geospatial or data visualization applications. The company demonstrated its framework and other Windows-focused platforms earlier this year at the Microsoft Public Sector CIO Summit in Redmond, Wash.


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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