A slew of Windows 8 tablets will debut in the fall -- when Microsoft is expected to officially release Windows 8 to the public -- and they'll run on chips from several different companies, a source told CNET.
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While it's been known for some time that Windows 8 would run on both traditional x86 processors as well as ARM-based designs (which are common in today's tablets), the report says November is the target date -- and that many of the designs are unconventional.
Intel recently made waves in mobile by announcing it would be pushing hard into the smartphone market with its new Atom chip designs, codenamed "Medfield." Two Medfield-based phones have already been announced, from Lava and Lenovo. Intel already has its next mobile chips in the works.
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The next Atom chip is codenamed "Clover Trail," and that's the one that'll be in all of the Intel-based tablets for the Initial release. Medfield is strictly a single-core processor, but Clover Trail is a dual-core design. Intel says it has more than 20 Windows 8 tablets based on Clover Trail in the pipeline.
The advantage of any Intel-based tablet is that it would run the standard version of Windows 8, not Windows RT, which is an alternate version made to run on ARM-based devices. Almost every smartphone and tablet today runs on chips with ARM architecture, but Windows RT won't be backward-compatible with Windows 7 apps. There's also some question about the capabilities of third-party browsers on Windows RT.
The report says more than half of the Clover Trail machines would be hybrid designs, meaning tablets that also double as laptops in some way. Intel showed off such a device -- which the company called Nikiski -- at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
The Clover Trail machines are expected to complement other Windows 8 laptops, which will run on Intel's recently unveiled Ivy Bridge processors. Ivy Bridge is made for the power demands of laptops and desktop PCs whereas Clover Trail would require much less power.
Clover Trail is a 32-nanometer technology, referring to the miniscule distance between transistors on the chip. Intel is also reportedly working on a 22-nanometer version, called "Bay Trail." That chip will have a built-in ability to connect to 3G and 4G wireless networks, the report says, as well as Intel-powered graphics.
Does the fact that you might be able to buy a low-power x86-based Windows 8 tablet make you more inclined to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments.
BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8
Here's what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it's a little unwieldy in practice.
This story originally published on Mashable here.