Here finally is an operating system that its makers claim to be as slick and efficient in a tablet or other touchscreen based devices as it will be on desktop and laptop PCs. It’s the Windows 8 operating system that Microsoft has shown off publicly for the first time, though there is every chance of the operating system having a different nomenclature once it’s ready to hit streets towards end of this year or early next. Also, what can be considered the most interesting aspect with the latest Windows iteration is its compatibility with the traditional computing platform characterized with a mouse and a physical keyboard to the latest tablet PCs. Microsoft is confident it finally has something in the form of Windows 8 that will make it a popular OS for desktops and laptops, and will probably have a similar effect on the tablet PC segment as well, given the new interface that Microsoft unveiled recently. This shiny new interface would make the OS usable on touchscreen devices, albeit with a compatible hardware only.
Also, there is news that the Windows 8 OS will have support for both the x86 and ARM based chipset, though there are also reports of processors ready for Windows 8 to be made available early next year. Then there is also NVIDIA, who has stated the same for its mobile chips.
Windows 8 however requires a few other hardware specifics, like a display that has 1366 x 768 pixel or higher resolution, even though it would also run on one with 1024 x 600 resolutions. Of course, clarity and a fun experience would probably improve with a higher resolution screen. There would also be requirements on the device to have edge-to-edge display and only then gesture support would be possible. The latter feature will make the Windows 8 similar to the QNX OS that runs the show on the PlayBook tablet PC.
There is also news that Microsoft intends to have a display of 16:9 aspect ratios, though that is not an absolute.
In the meantime, while Windows 8 continues to evolve, the entire episode has becomes all the more interesting with a rumor coming from unconfirmed sources claiming the software behemoth itself might delve into producing a tablet of its own. If that is indeed true, then it will be a move that might have been inspired from Apple that has had unprecedented success with its iPad, iPod, and the iPhone. While Microsoft did get involved in developing end user products, which includes the Zune, the Zune HD, or even a smartphone, none of them went on to make a mark. Except of course the Xbox 360 that can be considered the only product from Microsoft that has gone on to sell in millions.
The report which appeared on Digitimes further mentioned that Microsoft will get active help from Texas Instruments along with other Taiwan based OEMs/ODMs to develop the tablet which could be ready only towards the end of 2012. There has been no word of confirmation from Microsoft as yet.