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Microsoft Windows 8 own-brand tablet may be in development

Microsoft may be working on its own tablet hardware to run Windows 8, though it wouldn't arrive until late next year.

Microsoft is rumoured to be working on an own-brand Windows 8 tablet, according to Taiwanese sources reported by DigiTimes.

It may well be in talks with Texas Instruments, presumably for a number of its red-hot OMAP processor, and various other equipment manufacturers. This approach would mimic Apple -- picking and choosing components and having them assembled into the iPad.

Don't hold your breath, though. Windows 8 isn't expected to arrive until next year, and a Microsoft tablet may not land until much later in 2012. It's no surprise that Microsoft had no comment on the rumour.

Microsoft's foray into the world of hardware has been a pretty mixed affair. The Xbox 360 is its biggest success, of course, with the Zune music player and Kin smart phone at the very other end of the scale.

A massive Xbox-like launch may be at odds with its strategy, however, the speculators suggest. The Microsoft own-brand tablet would be launched without much fanfare so as not to hack off other tablet manufacturers considering a move to Windows 8, in a similar manner to Google's Nexus One and Nexus S Android phones.

There's a bright future for touch, tablets and less traditional PC hardware. That's why all the big names are investing so heavily in it. Apple is blurring the lines between the mobile iOS 5 and the desktop OS X Lion. Google's Chromebooks challenge standard laptop and netbook hardware. Early Windows 8 interface demos bear a striking resemblance to Windows Phone.

You made it very clear in our reader poll that Windows 8 looks best for tablets. If a Microsoft tablet does surface it will be interesting to see how that affects the company's attitude to bog-standard PCs.

What do you reckon? Would a Microsoft tablet excite you or should the company stick to its software and games console?