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7/11/2012
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Samsung Plans Windows 8 RT Tablet

South Korean electronics reportedly will ship ARM-based device in October, when Windows 8 hits stores.

8 Tablets Fit For Windows 8 Beta
8 Tablets Fit For Windows 8 Beta
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung is developing a tablet PC that runs on Microsoft's new Windows 8 RT operating system, according to a published report. The device could ship as early as October, when Windows 8 becomes generally available.

Word of Samsung's plans was reported by Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the electronics maker's intentions. Samsung officials did not confirm the report.

The news isn't surprising. Samsung has worked closely with Microsoft in building Windows 8 prototypes. Microsoft also has been using Samsung's Series 7 Slate, which ships with Windows 7, as a demonstration platform for the Intel-based version of Windows 8. The Series 7 runs Intel's Core i5 architecture, also known as Sandy Bridge.

Windows 8 RT only runs on chips based on ARM Holding's mobile reference design, meaning that Samsung's new tablet would run processors from either Qualcomm, Motorola, or Nvidia, the three ARM chipmakers that Microsoft has tapped for Windows RT tablets.

[ Moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8? Here's what you need to know now: Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro. ]

Asus and Acer also are among the hardware makers expected to introduce Windows 8 tablets in the coming weeks.

Microsoft itself plans to introduce its own line of Windows 8 tablets, called Surface. One version will use Windows 8 RT on ARM while another will run x86 chips. On Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer emphasized that it's not Microsoft's intention to go head-to-head with its hardware partners.

"We had to make sure that we had a piece of hardware that was unique in its ability to be that leading-edge hardware that really showed off Windows 8," said Ballmer. "But Surface is just a design point; it will have a distinct place in what's a broad ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish."

Ballmer spoke Monday at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

Microsoft this week revealed that Windows 8 tablets and PCs will be in stores in October, and that the OS will be released to manufacturing in August. Enterprises also will get access to final Windows 8 code starting next month, according to the company.

Windows 7, Vista, and XP users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99, and consumers who purchase a new Windows 7 PC between now and Jan. 31 can upgrade for just $14.99.

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference, C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

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