Windows tablet OS products won't ship until late 2012?

Microsoft's tablet-centric version of Windows may not see a launch on commercial products until late 2012, according to the latest rumors. According to Bloomberg's sources, Microsoft will begin testing the finger-friendly OS late in 2011; however, actual shipping products using the new platform won't arrive until back-to-school season next year.

Last we'd heard, Microsoft was reportedly planning a demonstration of its Windows 8 tablet platform in July this year, with a beta release of the OS following on in September. Contrastingly significantly with these 2012 rumors, there was even talk of Microsoft being "closer to competitive" in tablets than many had given them credit for, with the potential for products launching as early as the end of this year.

Windows 8 is expected to address long-term criticisms of the platform's tablet usability, as well as add in support for ARM processors alongside the existing x86 support. That would allow OEMs using Windows 8 to choose from various low-power chipsets of the sort found in the iPad 2 and Android slates.