Asus will release Windows 8 tablets before the end of 2012, according to a corporate slideshow leaking its way across the Internet.
That slide popped up first on Netbooknews.de, before drifting over to ZDNet and TechRadar. Beneath a "Windows market" subhead, it suggests Asus will offer a "ticket for selling Windows 8 tablets in Q3'12," alongside "2 hero products GTM in Q3'12."
While that language makes Asus' Windows strategy somewhat unclear, it hints that the company will produce two Windows 8 tablets in the third quarter of 2012. If verified, that would align with rumors that Windows 8 will appear in a broad-based release closer to the end of next year. Windows XP and Windows 7, Microsoft's two most successful Windows versions, both arrived on store shelves in October of their respective release years.
Meanwhile, Acer Chairman JT Wang is quoted in Taiwan-based DigiTimes Oct. 31 as saying that Windows 8 will allow Microsoft to gain market share. "In the past, Microsoft has been adding unnecessary functions to its operating system even after consumers already objected [to] such moves," he said, "but as Microsoft has already started seeing its problems and will implement changes into Windows 8, Taiwan's PC supply chain should benefit in the future."
In its bid to reengineer Windows for the tablet era, Microsoft created a start screen for Windows 8 loaded with colorful tiles linked to applications. Users also have the option of flipping to a "traditional" desktop interface.
The Windows teams crafting the next version of the popular operating system, in essence, serve two masters: the casual users who want an easy-to-use interface, lightweight enough to run on lower-powered PCs and tablets, and the power users who want their highly customized systems to power through arcane multiple processor-draining tasks.
In order to meet the needs of both groups, Microsoft is also redesigning key Windows features like Task Manager. The company's Building Windows 8 blog, its official conduit for information about the operating system, has discussed issues such as reducing runtime memory requirements and malware security.
Those radical alterations, however, have provoked some users into protesting the changes. One target of ire: Microsoft's decision to integrate the "ribbon" user interface, which offers tabs and icons in a horizontal or vertical panel, into Windows 8.
"We chose the ribbon mechanism, and to those that find that a flawed choice, there isn't much we can do other than disagree," Windows and Windows Live division President Steven Sinofsky blogged Sept. 2. "We are certain, and this proved out, that the dislike of the ribbon is most intense in the audience of this blog."
Microsoft can only hope that users will find the final version of Windows 8, no matter how radical its changes, palatable.