There's crazy talk going on over at DigiTimes, as Max Liu, product marketing director of ViewSonic Asia Pacific, claims the company plans to launch a Windows 8-based tablet in the Taiwan market during the second quarter of 2012. That means a 10-inch tablet sporting Windows 8 will be launched sometime between April and June, and before Microsoft actually launches the new OS worldwide.
What's likely to happen -- and this is just speculation -- is that ViewSonic will release a tablet with Windows 8 Consumer Preview pre-installed, making the device substantially cheaper because there's no added cost for the OS. That, unfortunately, will come later when the Preview ends and customers must shell out money for the real deal. At this point there's no telling what's powering the device, but presumably an x86/64-based SoC.
In addition to the Windows 8 tablet in 2Q12, the company also plans to release two to three new tablets in the same timeframe, some of which will sport Google's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" OS. But before all of that, ViewSonic plans to roll out a 3G version of its ViewPad 10e tablet in March. The new models will join ViewSonic's current tablet helping in Taiwan including the ViewPad 10 and the ViewPad 10e.
Liu said that ViewSonic shipped around 6,000 tablets per month in the Taiwan market during 2011, bolstering it to the #3 position. With the launch of new models in the first half of 2012, Liu sees ViewSonic's tablet market share expanding even more in 2012.
UPDATE: A ViewSonic representative told Tom's that the company "expects Windows 8 in the market the second half of 2012, not the second quarter, and is working on a Windows 8 tablet solution to hit the market in the same timeframe."