Windows RT PCs Set to Launch in October, Coming from Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung; Windows Blue Could End Up as a Service Pack for Win8, 'Not Windows.next'

Windows 8 and Windows RT each reached the RTM milestone, and now set to launch on October 26, in a blog post, Microsoft details how they've collaborated on the development of Windows RT and new PCs designed for the operating system. "Windows RT begins a new era of ARM-based PCs -- Our engineering collaboration has […]

Windows 8 and Windows RT each reached the RTM milestone, and now set to launch on October 26, in a blog post, Microsoft details how they've collaborated on the development of Windows RT and new PCs designed for the operating system.

"Windows RT begins a new era of ARM-based PCs -- Our engineering collaboration has been better than ever as we work in collaboration with ecosystem partners, including PC manufacturers, Silicon partners, and other component suppliers, to bring better performance, reliability, and battery life to new Windows RT and Windows 8 PCs," wrote Mike Angiulo, vp of Ecosystem and Planning team.

Adding he said, "breadth of Windows 8 Intel- and AMD-based designs from our PC manufacturing partners will continue to push the envelope with powerful computing and innovative design." "You can expect to see everything from ultra-thin sleek designs with stunning high-resolution displays, to beautifully designed All-In-One PCs with large immersive displays complete with touch, to high-power towers rocking multiple graphics cards and high-performance storage arrays."

Angiulo says, they're particularly excited about the new low power x86 Windows 8 PCs that will take advantage of Intel's SoC platform innovations to provide an always on and always connected experience (known as connected standby).

"We've purposely built thousands of reference design hardware systems to develop and test the OS and apps, collectively seeding over 1500 Windows RT reference systems to ISV and IHV companies in preparation for launch. And, we've seen over 90% of the RTM apps in the Windows Store support Windows RT, as well as the Windows Hardware Certification requirements working to ensure every Windows RT PC is indeed compatible with a broad set of peripheral devices such as printers, webcams, and mobile broadband modules," he said.

Here are the key points:

  • "Windows RT shares significant code with Windows 8 and has been developed for and will be sold and supported as a part of the largest computing ecosystem in the world.
  • We have achieved our goal of one Windows binary for all Windows RT SoC platforms from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, each of which has developed innovative ARM CPUs that form the basis of a complete system.
  • Delivering Windows RT PCs has been about building out a new system for the first time--a completely new ecosystem of PCs providing opportunities for PC makers to bring to life a new generation of PCs with new capabilities, starting with ARM-based processors.
  • Windows RT PCs are thin and light in industrial design, and have long battery life and integrated quality. These PCs have all been designed and manufactured expressly for Windows RT.
  • PC makers will provide Windows RT PCs as integrated, end-to-end products that include hardware, firmware, and Windows RT software. Windows RT software will not be sold or distributed independent of a new Windows RT PC, just as you would expect from a consumer electronics device that relies on unique and integrated pairings of hardware and software. Over the useful lifetime of the PC, the provided software will be serviced and improve," stated Angiulo.

Just recently, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad Tablet 2, which offers combination of new features built on the latest Intel ATOM processor -- also, Asus announced its Tablet 600 (Windows RT) following Microsoft's own Surface RT.

Microsoft said, soon there will ARM-based PC from Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung running

Below is a snapshot of an actual pre-release Windows RT PC, showing a very early engineering prototype and the evolution to its current form:

Windows RT PC Pre-release devices

We recently reported that Microsoft started working on Windows.next Windows 9. According to some reports the "Windows 9, codenamed Windows Blue might end up as a Service Pack (minor update) for Windows 8, and not the full-flavored platform that we believed it to be."

Microsoft is expected to start delivering regular updates for the platform, similar to the previously launched Service Packs.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says the "first update is set to become available in mid-2013," and that Windows Blue might be the codename for this software release. With that, the platform could feature an interim platform number, most probably Windows 8.1 or another in the 8.x line.