Windows 8 tablets are definitely on the way, but a taste of the finished product could be coming sooner than you think.
An unnamed source at Microsoft told Business Insider that the company plans to show off its design for Windows 8 tablets by the end of its fiscal year in June.
The person said Microsoft will borrow from the “Metro” interface of Windows Phone 7 while also taking inspiration from Apple for its interface design.
We’ve heard rumblings about the Windows Phone 7 aesthetic appearing in Windows 8 tablets before. In January, Paul Thurrott reported a rumor that Windows Phone 7’s live tiles could be part of a secondary interface for Microsoft’s next operating system. That makes sense given that the tile aesthetic is starting to show up in other Microsoft products, including Bing and the Xbox 360.
As for the timing, I’m a little more skeptical. Slashgear has reported a rumor that a developers’ beta won’t be ready until September. ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley reported that Windows 8’s next big milestone is on track for the end of July, which, judging by Microsoft’s timeline for Windows 7, would lead to a public preview a few months later.
Here’s what we know for sure: Microsoft is building Windows 8 to work with ARM chips, allowing the company to “bring to market the widest possible set of PCs and devices, from tablets on up,” according to Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows division. There’s no question that Windows 8 will accommodate tablets.
But right now, the tablet field is becoming crowded with Google’s Android, HP’s WebOS, Research in Motion’s Blackberry PlayBook and of course Apple’s iPad. The idea that Microsoft wants to play show-and-tell before the fall seems plausible.
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