Microsoft will ship Windows 8 to hardware makers this summer, and the first Windows 8 tablets and PCs should show up around October.That’s according to Dina Bass at Bloomberg, and the fall time frame matches what we’ve heard from numerous sources close to the company.
Bloomberg reports that the initial rollout will also include Windows On ARM (WOA), a separate version of Windows designed to run on ARM processors.
Processors based on ARM designs are generally more efficient but less powerful than Intel-type processors. That’s why they’re used on most smartphones and tablets — including the iPad.
Unlike regular Windows 8 computers, WOA tablets will not run any existing Windows apps, and people will only be able to buy apps for them through the Windows Store. Also, these tablets will make almost exclusive use of the new touch-screen “Metro” interface — the traditional Windows desktop will be there, but only for a very few features and Microsoft apps.
Microsoft partners like Dell and Lenovo are going to ship Windows 8 tablets using Intel-type processors as well. Those tablets might have worse battery life, but will have benefits like being able to run old apps. They will probably be more for business customers.
Microsoft said its goal was to ship both Windows 8 and WOA around the same time.
These iPad competitors will have a tough fight: Apple just sold 3 million iPads in a single weekend.