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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, 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.