If true, the timing is a bit surprising given the finished version of Windows 8 isn’t expected to be released until at least October. But the Computex show is a venue where many computer and component suppliers often preview the latest technology to attract vendors and distributors.
Microsoft also just released the Windows 8 Release Preview, the final advanced test version of the new OS available to the public ahead of the finished version expected to ship pre-installed on a number of tablets later this fall. Presumably the new tablets prototypes (it’s not clear how close they’ll be to finished products) shown at Computex will have the latest Windows 8 Release Preview build.
The Bloomberg report says the Asus tablet will be among the first powered by an ARM processor, the same type of chip that powers the iPhone and iPad. Apple uses its own custom version of the ARM design while Asus is expected to use Nvidia’s Tegra ARM-based chip. Toshiba Windows 8 tablet will run on an ARM processor made by Texas Instruments.
Acer is reportedly going to show a Windows 8 tablet powered by Intel chips, as well as a new Intel-powered notebook. Computex might be the first time, certainly in a show of this magnitude, users will be able to compare the ARM and Intel versions of competing Windows 8 tablets.
The price is right?
Beyond the technology and performance, a key question is what will these new tablets be priced. Apple is able to leverage its enormous supply chain expertise and resources to sell the iPad at a price (starting at $499) that’s hard for others with a 10-inch tablet to match.
But it’s unlikely pricing will be revealed by the Windows 8 tablet vendors at Computex next week so far in advance of commercial availability.