Microsoft’s self-branded Tablet

Microsoft will be launching the next version of the all too popular Operating System, Windows 8, sometime in 2012. This new OS from the software giant is expected to be touch-friendly and should cater to the diverse needs of the tablet segment. However, it seems Microsoft is not satisfied with just building the software, it wants to design the hardware too. According to industry sources, a Microsoft branded tablet may also hit the market in 2012. The device is likely to have a Texas Instruments ARM core and will be built by a Taiwan based OEM. Also, it will almost certainly be a Windows 8 device, possibly even the first. Microsoft on its part has tried stamping its brand on hardware before. Its experiments with the Zune player, Kin and even a few self-branded televisions have all yielded disappointing results. The only successful Microsoft product is the Xbox 360.

Currently, there are many Windows 7 based tablets available in the market, but none of them have managed to make an impression. This is mainly because Windows 7 is not optimised for tablet usage. However, Windows 8 will be a radically new design and will provide a user experience somewhat similar to Windows Phone 7 but with touch optimization as well as full Windows 7 functionality.  Microsoft hopes this will bridge the gap between PC’s and Tablets.

Going by the current reports on the time of launch, this Microsoft Tab will be directly pitted against the 3rd generation iPad, 2nd generation of Android based devices and potentially, the next generation devices from HP or RIM. Though Microsoft has declined to comment on the issue, analysts argue that the time is right for Microsoft to start thinking about its own tablet, especially with Sony branded tablets around the corner and Dell planning its own Windows 8 tablet.

Even if Microsoft does develop and release its own slate, it does not mean it will forsake other manufactures and their Windows 8 tablets. Reports indicate that it will continue to push its IDP plans to other manufacturers. This strategy can is somewhat comparable to Google’s strategy of working mainly on the development of Android’s software side while letting OEM’s like HTC, Samsung and Motorola work on the hardware, while also releasing a single Google branded Android device (called Nexus One, Nexus S in the past).