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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Reader Comments

Sun, Apr 22, 2012 Henk Poley

So they are all hitting for 3% of the market?

Sat, Apr 21, 2012

Finally, we can get tablets with Operating Systems and Applications from Bill Gates, the man who created COMPUTING with his invention of WINDOWS. All these others are fakers, they aren't real computers, for real Federal Managers.

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 BrianK Hawaii

Would be nice if they brought back Windows 3 File Manager where you could open windows on two drives, side-by-side, [Shift][Enter] to save the view as the default opening view, and sit back and think how user-friendly Windows was.

Got lost in Win 95. Sure missed it.

Wouldn't a touch screen interface make this more intuitive? Or are people not doing personal computing without the internet?

Fri, Apr 20, 2012

It is about time Microsoft started getting there act together with tablets. I am so tired and sick of people talking about apple, but I did read where they are now getting hit by viruses since they are now coming to the fore front of the business. When you are 90% of the market you are a target for every nut out there, so now apple is feeling some of the problems that Microsoft has had for years. Apple just wants money for every little thing you try to use on there tablets, when they sold it to you it became yours not theres to tell you what you can or not use. They need to get over themselves.

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 Joel

The FAA just switched from Office 2003 to 2010 with a "markedly different" interface, what used to take 3 seconds in 2003 now takes 30 minutes of hunt the interface to find out where MicroSoft burried the menu item now. Just what we need an "operating system, which promises a markedly different interface from past Windows" Hey Micro$oft if it ain't broke DONT FIX IT.

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