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Microsoft Confirms Four Windows RT Partners

By - Source: Microsoft | B 22 comments

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."

 

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  • 4 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 14, 2012 2:07 PM
    The comment above mine is pointless and I wonder why belardo bothered.

    HD video playback: 8 hours to 13 hours of scenario run time
    Connected standby: 320 hours to 409 hours of scenario run time

    Weight 520g to 1200g
    length 263mm to 298mm

    Source: wpcentral.com
  • 1 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 14, 2012 2:08 PM
    Whichever Arm device has a stylus will get my money!
  • 4 Hide
    AndrewMD , August 14, 2012 2:53 PM
    This is really exciting news. Actually, I use to own an Asus Transformer, however the Android OS was terrible on it so it was returned. Now that Asus will put WinRT on it, this unit should be a hot seller!!

    Too bad current Asus Transformer units cannot be flashed to use it...
  • 4 Hide
    boiler1990 , August 14, 2012 3:22 PM
    Anyone who thought Asus would balk needs to get their head out of the sand. They have one of the best slate/keyboard dock implementations out on the market right now, and it definitely was an inspiration for the Surface concept.

    Another interesting concept would be similar to that of Motorola's lapdock strategy. If you could make a Windows Phone device using an Intel SoC and x86, you could run a stripped down version of W8 (x86/x64). Dock that in a lapdock, and you've got a fully-fledged laptop running in your smartphone that is compatible with basically all available software.

    The same thing could be done with RT/WP8, but then what's the point if the slates already exist?

    The possibilities and concepts are endless. We will have to see what the OEMs come up with :D 
  • 2 Hide
    daglesj , August 14, 2012 4:18 PM
    Oh no....no Acer!


    Or several other makers of crappy laptops with added bloatware.
  • 0 Hide
    jay2tall , August 14, 2012 5:01 PM
    I will be anxious to see what Asus and Samsung bring to the table over the OEM Microsoft Surface. Asus has the slates which are awesome and obviously Samsung has been in the tablet market already. Dell and Lenovo I will be less interested in.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 14, 2012 5:15 PM
    damianrobertjonesThe comment above mine is pointless and I wonder why belardo bothered.

    Meh, most of their posts are drivel anyway.

    As long as ASUS isn't supporting the software (or as long as they get extensive support from MS), I'm all for it. They must have the worst android-support team ever. How many times did they break Android in moving from Honeycomb to ICS on their TF's? My TF101 suffered through at least 4 of the updates since Honeycomb until they finally got ICS stable, and it's not like it was a fast process either--literally months of having a quasi-useless tablet that succumbed to screens-of-death, random reboots, and battery-drains galore.

    Hmm...no Acer there? ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , August 14, 2012 5:42 PM
    The ASUS version looks a lot like that Transformer with the keyboard dock. If it's the same price I could definitely get on board with that.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 14, 2012 5:45 PM
    Quote:
    The ASUS version looks a lot like that Transformer with the keyboard dock. If it's the same price I could definitely get on board with that.

    I was thinking that. I have a TF101, and was wondering (more like hoping) that they used the same dock connector, and even more wondering (hoping) that the TF101 dock is compatible with the windows tab.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , August 14, 2012 6:04 PM
    Engadget's reporting that the surface RT version will start from $199. Brace yourselves.

    http://t.co/IbJn3NbJ
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 14, 2012 8:39 PM
    john_4Liked the Acer Timeline series, no bloatware because the first thing I did after I bought it was wipe Winblows off it and allowed Ubuntu to have the entire drive.

    So if you think Ubuntu is a good OS, do you think the Surface Pro hardware is sufficiently nice enough to have an overhaul to Linux? Just saying because most of the negative comments about the Surface tend to be about Windows 8 or RT, rather than the actual tablet.
  • -1 Hide
    bystander , August 14, 2012 9:17 PM
    ojasEngadget's reporting that the surface RT version will start from $199. Brace yourselves. http://t.co/IbJn3NbJ


    I think MS might we wise to leave plenty of profit margin on their version, assuming it's well built, so that their partners don't have to struggle to compete price wise. I hope that price doesn't squeeze their partners.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 14, 2012 10:20 PM
    I just imagined two people tapping a 11" tablet together, and immediately thought

    "dorky".
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 14, 2012 10:44 PM
    I thought the whole problem of WinRT tablet is what software are you gonna run on it? There is practically no existing application now except those few made by Microsoft.

    For Apple, initially they sell a mp3 player, then a phone. And the early adopters are buying the mp3 player or the phone while the app market grows to a suitable size to launch iPad. For Android, it starts off as a phone. What does WinRT have to make it a seller, no matter how good the hardware is?
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , August 14, 2012 10:51 PM
    back_by_demandSo if you think Ubuntu is a good OS, do you think the Surface Pro hardware is sufficiently nice enough to have an overhaul to Linux? Just saying because most of the negative comments about the Surface tend to be about Windows 8 or RT, rather than the actual tablet.


    Ubuntu is not an OS. It is a distribution of Linux. Linux is the OS that Ubuntu is built on. Ubuntu is just a collection of software on top of a Linux OS. This is one of the most easily confused aspects of Linux, usually by people who are unfamiliar with it.
  • -1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 14, 2012 11:02 PM
    eddieroolzI just imagined two people tapping a 11" tablet together, and immediately thought"dorky".

    LOL, worse than a nerd high-five. Or better yet, will it become the new nerd high-five!

    Yeah, not really getting the need for NFC in a tablet, unless you want to do some neat at-home projects with NFC.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , August 14, 2012 11:20 PM
    blazorthonUbuntu is not an OS. It is a distribution of Linux. Linux is the OS that Ubuntu is built on. Ubuntu is just a collection of software on top of a Linux OS. This is one of the most easily confused aspects of Linux, usually by people who are unfamiliar with it.

    Here I am to point out a trivial simplification you stated in order to establish my intelligence and your lack thereof! But what's this?! Oh, wait, the Ubuntu website itself contradicts you: http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu
    Ubuntu's websitethe Ubuntu operating system powers millions of desktops, netbooks and servers around the world.


    You really ought to give the authors of their work a piece of your mind, and tell them that they're lying to everyone and not accurately explaining what their product is. Sounds like they're not familiar with their own work...
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , August 15, 2012 12:02 AM
    tabletmanI thought the whole problem of WinRT tablet is what software are you gonna run on it? There is practically no existing application now except those few made by Microsoft.For Apple, initially they sell a mp3 player, then a phone. And the early adopters are buying the mp3 player or the phone while the app market grows to a suitable size to launch iPad. For Android, it starts off as a phone. What does WinRT have to make it a seller, no matter how good the hardware is?
    Well first off, the built in software and the few apps available for it already handle most of what the average tablet user needs. Power users will want to get an x86 device anyway.

    Regarding future app availability, Windows Marketplace is going to end up on a TON of Win8/x86 devices. Many apps on the Marketplace will be available for both WinRT/ARM and Win8/x86 devices. There's a lot of common ground between the two platforms, with the tools/libraries/runtimes/etc devs have access to it isn't hard to do. It won't take long for the Win Marketplace to be packed with apps for WinRT.

    On a semi-related note: Valve. Valve is upset because the new Win Marketplace finally gives them some real competition, plus Steam is trying to branch out into non-gaming software. I like Steam, but it took them many agonizing years to craft it from a steaming pile of crap into something decent. Even to this day I have my qualms about Steam. But basically if Valve doesn't like it, well, make a Steam app for WinRT. I'd hit, I mean, run it! For full x86 Windows 8, the existing Steam/Steamworks platform still works fine.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , August 15, 2012 12:18 AM
    teh_chemHere I am to point out a trivial simplification you stated in order to establish my intelligence and your lack thereof! But what's this?! Oh, wait, the Ubuntu website itself contradicts you: http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntuYou really ought to give the authors of their work a piece of your mind, and tell them that they're lying to everyone and not accurately explaining what their product is. Sounds like they're not familiar with their own work...


    They can say what they want to. Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian, a distribution of Linux, not a true OS in of itself. Linux itself is an OS and Ubuntu is a whole lot of software and such on top of it. Stating this is not an assault on your intelligence nor evidence of nor against mine, it is simply stating a fact that clears up some confusion and I did not do it with any malicious intent to insult you. This is comparable to how memory manufacturers rarely tell you the actual frequency, but simplify it instead. For example, DDR3-1600 memory is actually not 1600MHz, it is 800MHz memory that can transfer data on both the rising and the falling edge of a clock cycle, yet they call it 1600MHz. That doesn't make them right.
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