Acording to sources at CNet, the first Intel based Windows 8 tablets will be out in stores by November. There will be over a dozen different designs, ranging from tablets to hybrids (a design that combines laptops and tablets) showcased just in time for Christmas, as Microsoft tests the tablet/hybrid market in earnest.
All of the devices will utilize the upcoming “Clover Trail” atom chip from Intel. Clover Trail is a dual-core Atom design based processor with 32-nanometer process technology. Hybrid designs are expected that utilize Intel’s “Ivy Bridge”, but this is more on the “just a rumor” side of speculation, as sources have not commented on the validity of these claims.
Windows 8 will be powered by chips from Intel and AMD. Windows RT, a separate release with many of the same companents of Windows 8 will be powered by ARM, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Windows 8 will run on older Windows “legacy” applications, RT will not.
Intel is currently working on a chip called “Bay Trail”, a 22-nanometer of Clover Trail, but it will not be available in the upcoming line of tablets and hybrids. The new chip will come with security features built-in and will include Infineon [3G/4G] silicon. It will use Intel’s graphic technology, not borrowing from Imagination, as other chips have done.
The November release will test the market for Windows tablets and hybrids in time for Christmas, and could point out consumer trends in the tablet vs. ultrabook vs. laptop markets. Once new high-tech chips and a new OS come into the picture to challenge Apple, we will really see the staying power of tablets and hybrids.
If Microsoft is truly capable of combining the portability and touch screen functionality of a tablet, with the ability to run desktop software, it will be a real contender in this emerging market. Right now rumors are circulating that the Windows tablets will be larger and more expensive than the iPad. If they make that trade with advanced computing power, they could still see big sales. Otherwise we will continue to see lesser tablets struggling to compete with Apple.
If you don’t own an iPad but are still intrigued by the tablet, I would wait until November to see this new line.