A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

Summary: 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.

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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?

Topics: Software, Dell, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Tablets, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

    Very interesting guess work, Mary! It *might* make sense: they could do something like what Google's done with Honeycomb/Ice-Cream - ship SOC first and now worry about making it compatible with 'grown-up' Windows, then use the next release cycle to get the SOC Tablet Windows synced up with x86/x64 Windows.
    willpe
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @willpe
      Its definitely possible.
      Ram U
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @willpe I dont think that will happen.
      luchunwei
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @willpe and Mary Jo: my take is that Windows 8 is really two separate and distinct projects:

      1) Plain vanilla Windows 8 for x86 and x64: code optimization, move to .NET Framework 4 or 5. IE9. Dual and quad core support. Better GPU/APU support. Touch friendly APIs for touch friendlier taskbar and start menu.

      2) Windows 8 for SoC (aka ARM, but they won't use that name to avoid upsetting Intel's tummy): Minimal UI based on Metro, optimized for tablets. No Windows 7 application compatibility. Full Windows Phone 7 app compatibility. Extended Marketplace. Full driver compatibility with Windows Vista and 7 (which is a key nobody's focusing on). Dual mode use (aka like Motorola Atrix) on Intel Atom, with full blown UI on Netbook and dock and limited functionality as smartphone.

      Maybe Dell's tablet is Atom only and on Q3-12 we'll start seeing Snapdragon versions of same reference design.
      cosuna
  • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

    No way would Microsoft miss holiday sales. Their OEMs would be unforgiving.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      [i]Their OEMs would be unforgiving. [/i]

      Where would they go?
      none none
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @none none : Android, Ubuntu, et al.

        Remember, this is a ARM Windows we are speaking of. On that turf, Microsoft has plenty of competition. And at this moment, they can't toss the usual "...but we are the only compatible with such and such...", as no current Win32 app works with ARM. If developers had catched the bait and switched to WinForms and WPF, we would be on another place, but those two "platforms" (and I say that under quotes) never took off.
        cosuna
    • holiday

      Hi. I thought about that, too. But I really cannot see them getting Win 8 out in time for holiday 2011, given it is still in internal milestone build stage, at this point. One of my Twitter followers is wondering whether those dates on the roadmap are for test versions of new tablets (that could be shown off at CES 2012)... I don't know, but Q1 is an odd timing choice, however you look at it... Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @Mary Jo Foley

        Sorry, I guess I should have specified. I meant holiday 2012. There's no way, we'll see final code this year, and I know there is a lot of work to be done with Windows.Next, but prolonging that into 2013, would be a bad idea, IMO.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Hilarious

    Windows 8 tablets....just in time for iPad 3...

    As usual Ballmer is three years late to the game....just like

    Zune
    Zune HD
    WP7

    Notice every time Ballmer comes late to the game it's after he laughs at the competition for coming out with it first then suddenly realizing he was an idiot for laughing at it.

    Fire this goon.
    Ron Burgundy
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @Ron Burgundy
      We can all agree that Zune didn't even begin to scrape the installed user base of iPod owners, but Microsoft just added over 2 million new Zune account holders in 3 months. These are also known as Windows Phone 7 users. Zune is here to stay, just like Bing, just like Windows, just like Office.
      charlesdjones1
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @charlesdjones1 But is it here sustainably or will it become something that Microsoft has to carry on the backs of other product lines. Zune is definitely a carry product, it's there because it's the only thing they have to compete with iPod, not because it's succeeding in the market; nobody says, let me BING that fro you, they "Google" it; and Windows Phone 7 has not taken over the smart phone market, but instead grabbed non-smart phone users looking for basic smart phone features. Even Office has pretty much plateaued. XBOX has done well, but only after taking a loss for years and then only after building huge layers of integration between Windows OS, other Windows devices, and cloud applications that forced it's use on users..
        Socratesfoot
      • 2 million Zune account holders!?

        @charlesdjones1 ... source?

        All I read was that they stuffed the channel with Zune Phones. And now that everyone in the world is familiar with stuffing the channel, the stories actually explain that up front, that Microsoft pushed phones to retailers and nobody will say how many got sold.
        HollywoodDog
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @charlesdjones1

        IMO Zune is superior in every way to its competition - the devices, the software, everything.

        Apple has years of iPod history, and millions of iPod customers with trillions of dollars in DRM-protected tunes that will only play on iPod. It was never going to be easy for Zune or anyone else to get much traction against that. For people who don't have an investment in DRM-protected music, any fair comparison will have them running Zune.
        1DaveN
      • Few iPod users have DRM tunes

        @charlesdjones1 ... "millions of iPod customers with trillions of dollars in DRM-protected tunes that will only play on iPod"

        not factual. Even in the heyday of DRM on iPod, only something like 2% of total music on the iPods were DRM'd.
        HollywoodDog
      • Yak, Yak, Yak, HollyWoodDog

        you sound like a broken record anymore.

        I hear Apple stuffs the channel, do you wish to dispove it?
        John Zern
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @charlesdjones1 : just like Kin?

        Not sure Bing and Zune are here for the long run.

        Ironically, the only one that might stay "forever" is Office, as future versions of Windows might not be Windows at all, like "Windows" Phone 7.

        That, my friend is called brand erosion. It happened to Scotch (tape) when 3M started branding everything with that name. It happened to Hummer (when they branded badge engineered GMC trucks as Hummers). And it happened to IBM when anything not server was a Think-something. And guess what happened to all this "companies"?
        cosuna
      • Yes Phone7, Zune, Bing, Windows & Office are here ..

        but for how long will they stay? (@charlesdjones1).<br><br>OpenOffice is free and can do anything almost anything that Office can do. <br><br>Apple's Pages and Numbers are more useful than MS Office for the vast majority. (Yes, yes, everyone here claims to be a Wall Street quant, who relies on terabyte-sized spreadsheets that are so badly written that they collapse in a heap when faced with any non-MS spreadsheet. I believe perhaps 1% of these claims and of that 1% I suspect 90% are written by people who are too stupid or inept or ignorant to remain successful traders in a non-monotonic market.)<br><br>Phone7 will succeed to some extent because of Nokia. I don't know anyone who prefers Bing. Windows will continue because of corporate laziness and inertia.
        StandardPerson
    • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

      @Ron Burgundy

      Sometimes successes are not so apparent. While the sales of Zune were disappointing it is now one of several standout, unique features of WP7 and by whatever name its technology will play an increasingly important role in Microsoft?s convergence strategy.

      As for WP7 being too late--dream on. It has already captured 3rd in mindshare. Its app store is on an incredible run and rising faster than Android?s did and so far keeping pace with Apple?s. Already some games are generating more revenue on WP7 than Android. If things were not looking good enough as it was, after the Nokia announcement, there was a huge spike in the number of WP7 projects started so it is only getting better and better for WP7. Read it an weep.
      Mythos7
      • RE: A Windows 8 tablet in Q1 2012? Hmmm...

        @Mythos7 : Okey. Mindshare equals how much $$$.<br><br>If by Mindshare you mean millions of dollars <b>SPENT</b> on advertising then, yes, they have a third slot. More a dot-com bubble slot, just like Boo.com, startups.com, GovWorks.com, etc.
        cosuna