In the run up to the launch of Windows 8, a lot has been said about the x86 version, designed to run on Intel and AMD CPUs. Less has been said about its sibling, Windows RT, which brings Windows to ARM-based devices for the first time. In many ways this is the more exciting story, enabling Windows tablets at reasonable price points.
As Windows 8 proper begins to appear on Microsoft’s developer sites, it has given more of an insight into what is in store with Windows RT. It still hasn’t clarified what RT actually stands for (we asked some Windows developers during a recent briefing and they smiled and refused to tell us), but it does give an insight into who will be making tablets, and what to expect.
To date we have only seen two Windows RT products announced. The first was during ASUS’ Computex keynote when it gave a glimpse of the Tegra 3 based 10in ASUS Tablet 600, which brings Windows RT to a Transformer style form factor. The second was Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, which will initially be available in an ARM-based format.
We now know who else will be jumping onto the Windows RT bandwagon, with Microsoft announcing that Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also be releasing tablets. This is certainly a smaller number of manufacturers than we would usually expect from a new Windows release, but it demonstrates that not all OEMs share Acer’s opinion that Microsoft shouldn’t enter the hardware business.
In addition to announcing which manufacturers will be releasing Windows RT tablets, Microsoft has also given a rough indication of what to expect from these devices. The initial tablets will vary in size between 10in and 11.6in, weigh between 520gm and 1200gm and come in a variety of dimensions. Impressively the battery life on prototype devices ranges between 8 and 13 hours of constant HD video playback and between 320 and 409 hours in standby mode.
There is no specifics on which devices achieve these numbers, but we can make an educated guess that the heaviest, and longest lasting, of the devices is the ASUS tablet. This is due to the keyboard dock, which adds an extra battery when used.
Expect to see proper announcements from Lenovo, Dell and Samsung in the coming months. While there is no specific word, we’d be surprised if these tablets didn’t arrive day and date with the launch of Windows RT at the end of October.