Bloomberg have today written that Microsoft's apparent new Tablet version of Windows that's set to be unveiled at CES next month will be a special version running on ARM chips, which is great news for those wanting a low-power tablet device. The bad news though is that we're unlikely to see this new version of Windows appear until 2012 (and if Nostradamus' predictions of the end of the world that year bear fruit, then it'll have a very short product life).
So why am I making "end of the world" comments in relation to Microsoft's forthcoming tablet OS release? Frankly it's because it might as well be the end of the world and at least probably will be for Microsoft if it really takes them that long. By then Apple could be on their fourth generation iPad and the tablet version of Google's Android operating system will have been out for a year and a half.
Microsoft is apparently not worried about coming into markets late however, just look at the recent launch of Windows Phone for proof of this. In fact we ought to watch Windows Phone over the next year to gauge how well a tablet version of Windows will do when it finally appears, as the tablet and smartphone markets have strong links. If it does well then perhaps Microsoft shouldn't be overly worried, if it does poorly however Microsoft should perhaps rethink their tablet strategy and produce something much sooner.
So what happens to all of us in the interim wanting a tablet but not wanting an iPad or Android device? Some manufacturers such as ExoPC are already producing tablets with custom touch interfaces (and indeed I'll be testing the ExoPC myself over the holidays and reporting back to you here in the New Year with a full review and verdict). Other manufacturers who are well known for custom interfaces such as HTC have also said they will or may step into the market, but this still leaves the power-hungry and non-tablet-friendly Windows 7 running underneath.
I have to say I'm getting more and more depressed about the state of the Windows tablet market. I can only hope that having an ExoPC for Christmas cheers me up a bit.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.