Windows RT development has been a collective effort despite Microsoft's own secret Surface plans.
Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky confirmed on Monday that at least four OEMs have signed on to produce Windows RT tablets using ARM-based SoCs. These include Asus (Tablet 600), Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad Yoga) and Samsung not to mention Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet. Windows 8 and Windows RT just reached the RTM milestone on August 1, and is slated to go retail by the end of October.
"Dell’s tablet for Windows RT is going to take advantage of the capabilities the new ecosystem offers to help customers do more at work and home," said Sam Burd, Vice President, Dell PC Product Group. "We’re excited to be Microsoft’s strategic partner, and look forward to sharing more soon."
In a rather lengthy blog, he admits that NFC integration will be featured in a number of upcoming Windows RT launch products. By simply tapping two NFC-enabled Windows RT devices together, users will be able to easily share photos, URLs, map directions, and anything else that software partners have designed into their Windows apps.
"Windows RT is not just for tablet form factors," he said. "Some of our Windows RT PCs come with full keyboard and touchpad solutions, whether removable/dockable or a traditional clamshell. Not only do these solutions provide additional battery capacity, but they also provide a new touchpad experience that incorporates intuitive Windows 8 gestures. By working closely with our touchpad component vendors, we have incorporated native support in firmware to deliver incredibly fast gesture recognition that makes interacting with Windows a breeze."
He goes on to reveal that Microsoft purposely built thousands of reference design hardware systems to develop and test the OS and apps, collectively seeding over 1500 Windows RT reference systems to ISV and IHV companies in preparation for launch. That said, over 90-percent of the apps currently offered in Windows Store support both Windows RT and the Windows Hardware Certification requirements.
Sinofsky said the development of Windows RT devices has been like nothing else Microsoft has done in the past. The tablets are seemingly the byproduct of a massive collaboration between Microsoft, PC manufacturers, silicon partners and operators. Everyone was committed to showcasing early iterations of their products, he said, whether it was an SoC bring-up board or an early version of Windows RT itself. Product designs were informed and revised by their collective efforts through development and testing.
"As a result, all of these Windows RT PCs will have consistent fast and fluid touch interactions, long battery life, connected standby, and are beautiful, thin, and light designs. All of these are designed to make the most of the capabilities of Windows RT," Sinofsky said.
To read the full blog post, head here. As seen above, he also shows side-by-side comparisons of one tablet in the early engineering prototype stage, and in its current form factor. Ultimately the blog shows that despite the surprising Surface announcement, the Redmond company is clearly dedicated in flooding the tablet market with its new OS, whether it's x86/x64-based or ARM-based.
"You will need to stay tuned for more details; PC manufacturers will be unveiling their products as we approach the Windows 8 and Windows RT launch," Sinofsky added. "What I can say is the spectrum of form factors and peripherals being developed to meet each unique customer’s computing needs is unique in the industry."