Windows 8 Tablets: 32 Models In 2012?
Microsoft and hardware makers will reportedly ship more than 30 Windows 8 tablets for holiday season; timing matches details in Microsoft document leaked earlier this week.
Hardware makers such as Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, and Toshiba are planning to release a total of 32 Windows 8 tablets by year's end, according to Digitimes, a Taiwanese publication that closely tracks the offshore electronics manufacturing market. The publication, citing unnamed sources, said that all of the devices will run on Intel or AMD chips, and that Windows 8 on ARM systems will be released later.
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The report said prices for the devices could range between $300 and $1000--a range that would allow Microsoft to challenge Apple's iPad, which starts at $499 for the newest model.
Microsoft has not confirmed the report. It does, however, appear to be consistent with internal Microsoft documents that were leaked earlier this week. The documents show that Office 15, which will come preinstalled on all Windows 8 and ARM tablets, won't be ready for release until early 2013.
[ Considering a Windows 8 ARM tablet? Here's what you need to know now: Windows 8 ARM Tablets: 8 Must-Know Facts. ]
Earlier this week, Microsoft for the first time released details about Windows 8 versions. The new operating system will be available in just four editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT. The last is Microsoft's official name for Windows On ARM, which will run on tablet chips manufactured by Qualcomm, Motorola, and Nvidia. By comparison, Windows 7 was available in six editions, including Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise.
Users of Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium will be eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate users may upgrade only to Windows 8 Pro.
Microsoft said the basic version of Windows 8 would be somewhat equivalent to Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows 8 Pro will offer advanced features for professional environments, including encryption, virtualization, management, and connectivity tools. Windows 8 Enterprise will offer even more advanced virtualization, security, and mobility features.
Windows 8 is Microsoft's most radical redesign of its operating system since the introduction of Windows 95. It gives users the option to replace the familiar Windows Explorer desktop with a new Metro interface that 's centered around touch-activated Live Tiles.
Microsoft has not formally revealed pricing details or a ship date for Windows 8, but a Consumer Preview edition is free to download from the company's Web site.
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