Android tablets are all the buzz right now thanks to the recent Android 3.1 Honeycomb update and rumors of an upcoming family of Amazon tablets. Apple’s iPad also manages to stay in the news with announcements of future display technologies. But, any mention of a Microsoft tablet has been absent, either because the company remains especially mum on the topic or there’s just very little public interest in a Windows tablet. Either way, some news about potential Microsoft tablets has managed to surface today thanks to an Intel Exec, and it looks to be muddy.
During a conference for investors, Intel’s senior vice president of software Renee James spilled some details on Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8 and its implementation in tablets. Microsoft will have four versions of Windows 8 for ARM processors, in addition to the Intel versions. According to James, the ARM versions will be optimized for tablets and smartphones and will not be able to run apps built for older versions of Windows that ran exclusively on Intel’s x86 architecture.
However, James adds that there will also be at least one Intel version of Windows 8 that will address the tablet and smartphone market. All this adds up to a ridiculous amount of versions of the next Windows 8. Now, Microsoft has always released at least a couple versions of each update to include a high-end version for enterprise, and then various lower-end versions for business and consumers. But, this time, they are adding ARM versions to the mix along with Intel versions tailored specifically for smartphones and tablets.
This could get extremely messy and could create challenges for developers when it comes to writing apps for both platforms. It will be interesting to see how this pans out when Microsoft reveals more details at its Professional Developers Conference in September.