The expected October launch of Windows 8 will include tablets based on the ARM chipset as well as desktop PCs, notebooks and tablets running Intel chips.
In support of Microsoft’s new alliance with ARM Holdings, TabTimes has learned that Microsoft plans to have a launch event in the United Kingdom. ARM’s headquarters is in Great Britain (Cambridge). Microsoft said it has no comment on its launch plans at this time.
A source close to one of the Windows 8 vendors says the launch will take place in the UK. Another source says the launch will take place October 22, but it’s not necessarily exclusive to the UK.
Microsoft launched Windows 7 in both the UK and the U.S. (New York) and analyst Tim Bajarin said a dual event launch makes sense for Windows 8.
“That would be an important statement of support for ARM to have it in the UK, but if it was only in the UK, that would be kind of a slap in the face at Intel,” said Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.
Chip analyst Nathan Brookwood says a UK event with many of ARM’s partners would help Microsoft convey the message that the new ARM-based tablets are an important part of the Windows 8 ecosystem.
"Companies stage launch events to bring a particular focus to a market or to a geography," says Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. "For example, AMD launched server chips in China a few months ago because it wanted to convey the market in China is growing and important. The Microsoft alliance with ARM is new and an event in the UK would underline its importance to Windows 8."
Some recent reports have dinged Microsoft for what’s expected to be a fairly limited initial release of ARM-based tablets. Four likely candidates are Asus, Samsung, HTC and Nokia. The big PC vendors jumping on the Windows 8 tablet bandwagon are expected to ship Intel-based devices. These would include Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
There will be a much broader range of Windows 8 PCs and notebooks available at launch, perhaps as many as 40, according to some reports.
Windows 8 devices will join a crowded field of tablets. ABI Research estimates there are already over 220 different tablet models on the market, the vast majority running Google’s Android operating system. But Apple’s iPad owns over 60% of the market, according to most research firms.