Windows 8 tablets’ release date isn’t imminent
Microsoft could be ready to unveil tablets running Windows 8 at CES 2011 in January, according to the New York Times.
The NYT credited an unnamed source for the leak, which suggests that Microsoft’s keynote will be enlivened by the arrival of the next generation of Windows, as well as Samsung and Dell tablets.
However, the Windows 8 release date may be sooner than you think, with a beta in the spring. That means Windows 8 tablets could be out by late summer.
Windows 8 tablets will be from the usual suspects
It’s no surprise to see the names Dell and Samsung in the NYT piece: both firms have close relationships with Microsoft, although it’s interesting to see Microsoft getting groovy with an Android tablet manufacturer. We’d expect to see something like the leaked “Lap PC” from HP too.
Windows 8 tablets will probably look like iPads
While Dell makes some unusually shaped tablets already, the Samsung tablet is “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin.” Unlike the iPad, “it also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”
Windows 8 tablets will be designed for business use
“The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work,” the NYT says, quoting the inevitable “person familiar with the company’s tablet plans”.
Windows 8 tablets will have a new touch interface
Engadget says: “We’ve heard from numerous sources that Microsoft’s real tablet strategy will rely on Windows 8 and a new all-touch interface that the company has been working incredibly hard on.”
Windows 8 tablets will have apps and an app store
Perhaps acknowledging that Windows 7 wasn’t designed with fat fingers in mind, the tablets Ballmer shows off at CES will be powered by Windows but will have an additional layer for HTML5 web apps. This layer will pop up when the tablet is in portrait mode and the keyboard hidden.
Apps are a big part of Windows 8, with Microsoft convinced that “app development will move to the web” and building a Windows Store with manufacturer-specific entrances. Microsoft doesn’t plan to make money from the Store; like Apple, it’s all about selling more machines.
Windows 8 tablet specifications aren’t strange or startling
We’d expect Windows 8 tablets to have similar specifications to other iPad rivals such as the Galaxy Tab or BlackBerry Playbook, essentially netbooks in a different form factor: a gigahertz processor, a gigabyte of RAM, 802.11b/g/n wireless and multitouch capacitive displays. Expect lots of connectivity too, with USB ports a key selling point.
Windows 8 tablet prices should be similar to Android ones
Windows 8 tablets will be up against iPads, Android tablets and Chrome OS netbooks, so if they’re not priced very aggressively they’re going to be a tough sell.