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5/26/2011
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Windows 8 Tablet To Debut Next Week?

Microsoft set to unveil its answer to Apple's iOS and Google's Android, according to a published report.

Microsoft officials were keeping a tight-lipped silence Thursday over reports that the company will next week demonstrate for the first time a derivative of the Windows operating system that's specifically designed to run tablet computers, currently the tech market's hottest category.

"Nothing to share at this time," a Microsoft spokesperson told InformationWeek.

The company could show off the software at the All Things D conference, which starts May 31 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., or at the Computex computer show in Taipei, which kicks off the same day, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The news service, citing people it said were familiar with the plan, claimed Microsoft's tablet OS would run on Nvidia's Tegra chip.

That's consistent with earlier statements from Microsoft. The company in January said it would develop a tablet version of Windows 8 that runs on British chip designer ARM's system-on-a-chip architecture. Tegra incorporates ARM's SoC design.

Even if Microsoft does unveil a tablet version of Windows next week, the software won't likely be market-ready for months—possibly not even until next year.

But that fact alone doesn't mean a demonstration is not imminent. The software maker is anxious to show that it's not falling too far behind rivals like Apple and Google in smartphones and tablets, which are taking a big bite out of Windows PC sales.

Earlier this week, Microsoft held a press conference at a tony hotel in New York City's Tribeca district to show off an upgraded version of Windows Phone 7 that won't ship until at least the fall. Windows Phone 7 "Mango", as the update is called, adds multitasking, deeper integration with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, 4G support, and numerous other features.

Microsoft needs to move as quickly as possible to make up lost ground in the mobile space. The company is currently in last place among the major smartphone OS developers, according to the most recent data from Gartner, and it's virtually absent in slates.

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