There's an alleged leaked Dell roadmap making the rounds that shows a timeline indicating that Dell is going to ship a Windows 8 tablet, codenamed Peju, in the first quarter of 2012.
My first reaction on seeing this is... No way. How can this possibly be, given that we haven't even seen a first tech preview of Windows 8 -- and are unlikely to see one, according to most informed (and uninformed) speculation until fall 2011? I'm still thinking Windows 8 will be released to manufacturing in time to make it onto PCs for holiday 2012, but there are also some claiming it won't be out until some time in early 2013.
Put another way: If Microsoft delivers a public beta or two, and does the final fit and finish work on Windows 8, is there any way that it could possibly be released to manufacturing in late 2011, which is what Dell would need to get it onto tablets in time to ship it in Q1 2012? I just don't see it. (And for the record, Microsoft officials are not commenting. I asked.)
There is another remote possibility... and one that's been in the back of my mind for a while now. Let me say up front that this is all pure and utter conjecture on my part.
What if Microsoft is planning to deliver the system-on-a-chip version of Windows 8 first? The company is believed to have been working on a port of Windows to ARM for several years now, starting with the rumored "LongARM" project. So what if the SoC version of "Windows Next" that Microsoft showed off at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this past January was a lot further along than many think? Microsoft has said it plans to deliver Windows "Next" -- which is widely assumed to be the same as Windows 8 by most sane and rational people -- on Soc chips from Intel, AMD and ARM.
The purported leaked Dell roadmap also shows a new Windows Phone 7 from Dell, codenamed "Wrigley," shipping in July. Wrigley is said to be running a "major new version" of the Windows Phone OS. That feasibly could mean "NoDo," the version that Microsoft is expected to deliver in early March 2011. If it means "Mango," the true "next major version" of the OS, which Microsoft is expected to release to manufacturing in early fall 2011, the roadmap is off (or dated).
What's your take? Is there any possible way you can see Dell delivering a Windows 8 tablet so soon?