Intel Windows 8 tablets to hit retail stores in November

Windows 8 should available by November when Intel-based devices hit retail stores.

Intel 'Clover Trail' Atom Z2760-based Windows 8 tablet.
Intel 'Clover Trail' Atom Z2760-based Windows 8 tablet. Brooke Crothers

The first wave of Intel-based Windows 8 tablets are expected to land in retail stores in November, a source familiar with device makers' plans told CNET.

"The schedule is tight," said the source. "Looking at what Windows is trying to achieve not only with a new OS, but a new OS that needs to run four to five architectures -- three ARM, Intel, and AMD," according to the source.

And don't expect just tablets. "More than 50 percent" of the "more than a dozen" designs will be hybrids, aka convertibles, the source said. Those designs combine aspects of a traditional physical keyboard-based laptop and tablet.

Intel-specified tablet/hybrid features.
Intel-specified tablet/hybrid features. Intel

All the devices described by the source will tap Intel's upcoming "Clover Trail" Atom chip. Clover Trail is Intel's first dual-core Atom design based on its 32-nanometer process technology. (The single core version of this chip powers a phone from India-based Lava and is slated for phones from Lenovo, Orange, and Motorola, among others.)

Hybrid Windows 8 designs based on the higher-performance Ivy Bridge processor are also expected but the source did not address that market segment specifically.

Windows 8, like Windows 7 before it, will be powered by chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices and will be able to run older, so-called "legacy" applications.

A separate release from Microsoft, Windows RT, will land on devices powered by ARM chip suppliers Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. RT will not run older Windows applications.

The sources added that Intel has a chip called "Bay Trail" in the works -- the company's future 22-nanometer follow-up to Clover Trail.

"It is a gigantic performer, with similar battery life to Clover Trail. It will also have a lot of security features built in and Infineon [3G/4G] silicon inside," the source said.

Bay Trail would use Intel's own graphics tech, not Imagination's.

When that chip will arrive isn't clear yet.

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