Amongst the many expected to release Windows 8 tablets, incorporating the latest Intel technology system on a chip are Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Lenovo. A source close to the manufacturers report that HP and Acer are beavering away working on their designs, whilst rumors abound in details leaked today that Lenovo are developing the ThinkPad Tablet 2, which is expected to incorporate Intel’s Clover Trail system-on-a-chip (SoC).
So what do they offer? Well unlike the Windows RT tablets that will use ARM chips; these Intel-based Windows 8 designs are distinctly different. Whilst the Window RT devices use a version of Windows 8 that does not offer backward compatibility with the pre-existing millions of Windows software programs, the Intel-based systems will offer that compatibility.
The tablets are expected to hit store shelves as soon as 26 October. The traditional desktop is likely to still be around for those times you need Photoshop, Microsoft Office and other full featured PC programs.
The burning question for most users is what the Windows Store Catalog will be like. The news is that developers can now submit their apps to Microsoft for inclusion in the Windows store, this being the sole source of apps on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, though at this stage it’s unclear how many developers are working on apps for Windows 8 and what availability there will be for users when launched in October. Whilst there is this uncertainty, Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy recently is quoted as saying that Microsoft would need at least 5,000 high quality Windows 8 apps available at launch to be a success. For users on the new ARM-based Surface tablet from Microsoft and some other devices, this is especially true as Windows RT users will be unable to add regular Windows apps to their desktop and will be reliant on the Windows Store as the only way to get new apps on the device.
Market experts are already predicting a nightmare for retailers as non-technical users get to grips with the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 and its unclear how Microsoft and its partners will help users to differentiate between the products.
So will Windows 8 help propel Windows into the touch screen era? Windows 8 has some great advantages including east of set up, speedy boot times, more manageable printer discovery and improved multiple monitor support. However, none of that detracts from the fact this is a radical shift from the current desktop and it’s yet to be seen if this radical shift will be embraced by users or a colossal flop as seen with Vista.
Another factor is that Microsoft has yet to confirm when they intend to stop selling Windows 7. The new version removes the Start Button and introduces hot corners, multi-touch gestures, and the Windows key. For those who are pretty much used to the current operating system, these changes in some cases will take a lot of getting used to, with some not reacting well to the change. Well, we will all find out in October.