Microsoft plans to release its next-generation Windows operating system to the public later this year, and the company is working with PC makers on tablets, notebooks, and other computers that will run Windows 8.
So when websites start running stories about Dell or Lenovo executives claiming that they’ll be the first companies to launch Windows 8 tablets, I think it’s important to note the missing word: “among.”
Dell and Lenovo will be “among” the first companies to launch Windows 8 tablets.
I suspect that on Windows 8 launch day, nearly every personal computer maker will have a Windows 8 tablet ready to go — and possibly some companies that we don’t even think of as PC makers, such as phone giant Nokia.
Just because other companies haven’t announced plans to release products the same day doesn’t mean they’re not in the works.
I doubt we’ll stop seeing headlines with bold claims about the “first” Windows 8 devices anytime soon, but I’m already tired of reading them — and Windows 8 probably won’t be ready to go until this fall.
Here’s what we do know: Windows 8 features a new tablet-friendly user interface with big finger-friendly icons and gestures for navigation and new full-screen applications including a version of Internet Explorer 10 that’s actually as easy to use on a tablet as the Safari web browser on an iPad.
Windows 8 will be able to run on devices with x86 chips or ARM-based processors. While you might expect the ARM-based models to offer better battery life at a lower cost, Intel has made a lot of progress in power consumption recently. If you pair one of the latest Intel Atom processors with a decent battery, it’s not unreasonably to expect an x86 tablet to get up to 10 hours of battery life.
Both ARM and x86 tablets will be able to run new Metro style full-screen apps downloaded from the Windows Store. But if you want to run some of the millions of apps designed for Windows 7 and earlier, you may need an x86 tablet. They won’t run on ARM-based systems unless developers update the apps and submit them to the Windows Store.