Even though Microsoft is hosting numerous workshops across the planet to get companies ready for deployment of Windows 8 operating system – the company is not disclosing the timeframe of the launch. We have received very interesting information, which got confirmed from multiple sources close to Microsoft or inside Microsoft: the release schedule for Windows 8.
The presenters talking about Windows 8 and its requirements are as clueless as the executives which speak great things of Windows 8 vision. However, all focus is turned to deploying the x86 version for the desktop and notebook, workstation and server – while no attention is being given to the tablet version, i.e. Windows on ARM.
This NVIDIA Tegra 3 powered tablet had Microsoft’s Cerberus watching over it – no touching was allowed. Don’t worry though, you won’t see this in stores until 2013.
On CES 2012, Microsoft was careful about not to let anyone touch or use the ARM version of Windows 8, claiming it was "a beta" and "not ready". On MWC 2012, which takes place this week in magnificent Barcelona – the story is all but a repeat from CES. Furthermore, Qualcomm all but publicly announced that the company will be delaying its quad-core processors from the summer of 2012 into the first quarter of 2013.
While initial reaction was that the field is opening up for NVIDIA, the company stayed mum during their recent financial results call, talking about 28nm yields and not talking about opportunities.
ARM gets Dis-ARMed
Well, brace for impact. According to several sources we have spoken to, including highly ranked executives close to the heart of the matter, Windows 8 for x86 processors will only come out in the fourth quarter of this year. Furthermore, Windows-On-ARM will only debut in 12 months from now, at the Mobile World Congress 2013 with the availability coming at the end of second quarter, i.e. May-June timeframe.
This information is something Microsoft does not want to share around and the company is keeping the arousal factor high on a premise that Windows 8 will ship soon. In a couple of days, the company will release Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but this is not the only publically planned version of Windows. We heard the company is debating two options – to give 180 days trial version and then a 90 day extension when the summer ends, or release a 365-day version, giving you plenty of time to enjoy Windows for free.
The Biggest Winners: Intel (and AMD)
Both Intel and AMD are big winners in the current situation. ARM Competitor will not have their software on hands for at least six months after Windows 8 debuts. Intel will be able to ship Medfield-based Atoms in Tablet and Clamshell form factor, joined by AMD pushing their Bobcat-based Fusion APUs in the same two form factors.
Thus, Wintel i.e. X86 plus Windows will still carry the flag for Microsoft in the critical mobile segment. Can they do anything to stop the Android steamroller and Apple’s iThunderstorm? We sincerely doubt it.
2012: Google Android Hey?year
So there you have it, 2012 will be known as the Year of the Android and by the time Windows 8 on ARM sees the light of the day, the main competitor will not be Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" but rather Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" or even a refresh like the 5.1 or 5.2. Same thing with Apple iOS 5.x or even 6.x.
New logo for Microsoft Windows 8 was supposed to represent a clean slate for the company. However, Windows 8 will be clean of slates i.e. tablets until mid-2013.
Windows 8 might look contemporary today, but the main question remains – Are Windows 8 going to be equally impressive in 12 months? If they don’t, the writing is on the wall.