HP, Acer, Lenovo eye Windows 8 tablets

HP, Acer, Lenovo are expected to release Windows 8 tablets using Intel's most power-efficient chips. Overall, Intel expects more than 20 tablet and convertible designs based on its chips.

An HP Windows tablet
An HP Windows tablet. Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Lenovo, among others, are expected to bring out Windows 8 tablets using Intel's latest system-on-a-chip.

HP and Acer are working on designs, a source familiar with the vendors' plans told CNET. In addition, details leaked today about a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which will also use Intel's Clover Trail system-on-a-chip (SoC).

These Intel-based Windows 8 designs are distinctly different from Windows RT tablets that will use ARM chips. Windows RT devices use a version of Windows 8 that does not offer backward-compatibility with the millions of existing Windows software programs. Intel-based systems offer that compatibility.

And this is likely just a small sampling of Intel-based Windows 8 tablets slated to hit on October 26, when Windows 8 launches. "We are... tracking more than 20 Windows 8 tablet designs based on our low-power and low-cost Clover Trail Atom SoC in addition to a number of core-based tablets," Intel's CEO Paul Otellini said on July 17.

Laptop-tablet hybrids, or so-called convertibles such as Asus' Taichi, are also expected. Taichi uses a faster but less power-efficient Intel Ivy Bridge chip, the same chip that powers ultrabooks and Apple's MacBook Air.

Throw the already announced Microsoft Surface Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro products into the mix, and it's obvious the market will get crowded quickly.

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 will sport a 10.1-inch IPS 1,366x768 display, weigh in at about 650 grams (1.4 pounds), have a thickness of 9.8mm (0.39 inches), and include an HSPA+ broadband option, according to Techin5.

HP, Acer, and Lenovo declined to comment.

Featured Video

We pummel the powder in Nissan's Winter Warrior concepts

Equipped with suspension lifts and actual tracks, these concepts are meant to reach places that no ordinary vehicle can.

by Jon Wong