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Windows 8 readying for October debut

This post has been updated. See the notes below for details.

Amid all the attention lavished on the new iPad, a Bloomberg report notes that work on Windows 8 is likely to wrap up this summer, setting the stage for a debut in PCs and tablets this October.

The first wave of devices are likely to run both Intel and ARM processors, with the overwhelming majority carrying Intel, Bloomberg said.

Although Microsoft is developing its offerings with ARM technology -- that’s what’s running Apple’s iPad -- there will be “fewer than five” WOA (Windows on ARM) devices, compared to more than 40 Intel machines, according to the report. Sources also told Bloomberg that three of those Windows 8 ARM devices will be tablets.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m., March 20:  Microsoft had no comment on the report or its plans.] 

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The company’s release of a Consumer Preview in late February suggested they were on track for a fall release. Windows 7 was released to developers in July 2009 and in devices that October as the holiday shopping season was just gearing up.

The consumer beta offerings were met with overwhelming interest -- over a million downloads in the first 24 hours.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m. March 20:  At this point in the tablet revolution, however, Apple is in its third iteration of its incredibly popular iPad and there are numerous Android-based offerings.  So the pressure is on for Microsoft to get a viable tablet to market.

“Microsoft isn’t fighting the battle it’s used to fighting,” said Michael Gartenberg, a tech industry analyst for Gartner, Inc. “This is a universe that has changed.”

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With well-established tablets on the market and the ecosystems that have developed around them, Microsoft will have to deliver more than just a tablet and an OS. “Ecosystems are driving purchases these days.” Gartenberg said.

“Consumers aren’t buying the new iPad because it has a Retina display -- it’s because of what they can do with the apps that use the Retina display.”

With a huge gap between tablet market leader Apple and the Android tablet developers, Microsoft may have an opportunity to insert itself as a competitor for the No. 2 spot, he said. A lot is riding on the success of a Microsoft Windows 8 tablet, especially as Apple pulls away from the pack with its third-generation iPad, which promises to sell well in the holiday season.

“Certainly Microsoft needs to have a device on the market…but they also need to make sure it’s compelling.”]

Of course, it could be worse -- if the operating system isn’t ready for prime time, compelling tablet or not. 

RELATED:

Windows 8 Consumer Preview hits 1 million downloads in one dayWindows 8: A first look at Microsoft’s new OS on a tablet [Video]

Microsoft releases Windows 8 Consumer Preview for free download

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Original source: Windows 8 readying for October debut


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