Now that the Windows 8 Release Preview is here, PC makers are getting ready to announce their Windows 8 tablets.
Bloomberg, citing the all-knowing “people with knowledge of the matter,” reports that Acer, Toshiba and Asus will reveal several Windows 8 tablets next week at the Computex trade show in Taipei.
The announcements will reportedly include both x86-based tablets–with chips made by Intel or AMD–and ARM-based tablets. Tablets with x86 processors will run the main version of Windows 8, which supports existing Windows software, while ARM-based tablets will run a separate version called Windows RT, designed for better power consumption but unable to support legacy Windows applications. Acer will use Intel chips, Toshiba will use ARM-based chips from Texas Instruments and Asus will use both types of processors, says Bloomberg.
I’m most interested to hear about Asus’ tablets, which according to Bloomberg will have detachable keyboard docks similar to the company’s Android-based Transformer series (pictured above). A Windows version would be useful for running legacy software in laptop mode and new “Metro-style” apps in tablet mode, so I’m hoping Asus announces at least one tablet based on x86 architecture.
Acer, Toshiba and Asus aren’t the only companies working on Windows 8 tablets. HP, Dell and Samsung have also announced tablet plans for Microsoft’s newest operating system, but haven’t revealed any hardware yet. Lenovo has already shown off one possible design, a hybrid known as the Yoga, and Nokia has hinted at building its own tablet that would most likely run Windows 8. An earlier report from CNET claimed that more than a dozen Windows 8 tablets based on Intel chips will launch in November, and at least half of them will be hybrids.
With a near-final version now available for users to try, hardware is the last piece of the puzzle. As my colleague Harry McCracken noted in his look at the Windows 8 Release Preview, all opinions are incomplete until we’ve seen actual Windows 8 tablets, laptops and hybrids.