Opinions on Windows 8 as a desktop operating system are definitely a mixed bag. While most people would describe the fusion of Metro and the Desktop as awkward at best, even the biggest of critics have to admit the potential for Metro on tablets is huge. We’ve had three release previews at this point to give us an idea of what the operating system will look like, but hardware could make or break Microsoft’s tablet aspirations. PC OEM’s have tripped over themselves trying to duplicate the industrial designs consumers crave, and if Windows 8 ships on 4 inch thick square tablets, they might as well not even bother. Our first glimpse of new Windows 8 tablet hardware will be on display next week at Computex Taipei, with Acer, Toshiba, & Asus showing off new designs.
According to Bloomberg the Asus booth will be the one to watch, as they will have both a Tegra based Windows 8 RT device, and an Intel X86 tablet running side by side. By contrast Acer has confirmed its demo unit will be powered by Intel, and Toshiba is using a Texas Instruments ARM chip for its latest. It will be interesting to find out from the vendors themselves exactly what compromises must be made in size, weight, and battery life if you opt for an x86 design over ARM. I’m guessing more than one Maximum PC reader would be interested in a x86 Windows 8 “Transformer Like” tablet, but of course this will all depend on form factor.