Microsoft Confirms Four Windows RT Partners

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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  • belardo
    Yawn if you don't care... fart if you do.
  • damianrobertjones
    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

  • damianrobertjones
    Whichever Arm device has a stylus will get my money!
  • AndrewMD
    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...
  • boiler1990
    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
  • daglesj
    Oh Acer!

    Or several other makers of crappy laptops with added bloatware.
  • jay2tall
    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.
  • teh_chem
    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. Acer there? ;)
  • GreaseMonkey_62
    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.
  • teh_chem
    9390836 said:
    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.