According to an industry insider, it appears that Microsoft’s next-generation touch-centric Windows 8 desktop operating system and the Intel hardware that will support the OS will debut in November. Windows 8 will also support ARM-based processor, a first for the OS, but according to CNET, “The first wave of Intel-based Windows 8 tablets are expected to land in retail stores in November.”
Windows 8 will be the first version of Microsoft’s OS that will be designed with touch in mind. The designs and devices running Microsoft’s system will have to compete against mobile-centric OSes, like Google’s Android and Apple’s iPad. As such, device manufacturers will be releasing a variety of form factors for Windows 8 devices:
“More than 50 percent” of the “more than a dozen” designs will be hybrids, aka convertibles, the source said. Those designs combine aspects of a traditional physical keyboard-based laptop and tablet.
Devices that will ship with Intel chipset will utilize Intel’s dual-core Atom-based CPU known as Clover Trail. Intel, like Microsoft, is attempting to make inroads in the mobile space. On the hardware side, Intel is competing against ARM-based chipset, which has a stronghold on mobile. Intel’s Clover Trail CPU is based on a similar design as the single-core Medfield CPU, which is found on newly announced Android devices like those from Lenovo and Orange. Clover Trail will be based on a 32 nm manufacturing process for power efficiency.
In addition to Clover Trail, CNET’s source also says that Intel will have a successor in the form of Bay Trail, which will move to a smaller 22 nm process. The biggest news is that Bay Trail will have cellular 3G/4G integration thanks to Intel’s acquisition of Infineon.
What will differentiate hardware running Intel and Windows 8 compared to ARM processor is that the Windows RT on ARM won’t be able to run legacy programs from earlier versions of Windows.