According to sources in the industry, Microsoft will finish work on Windows 8 sometime during summer, and will follow it up with a launch in October. If they stick to this schedule, then they’ll be able to make it during the holiday rush and get a lot of prospective buyers to upgrade. All compatible devices based on Intel and AMD CPUs will support Windows 8, along with certain ARM devices. According to sources, there won’t be too many ARM devices running Windows 8 upon launch as the numbers are said to be fewer than five, out of which three of them are said to be tablets.

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We’ll know more about the launch come April when Microsoft will host an event to talk about their strategy for Windows 8 and how they plan on marketing it. Microsoft is pinning their hopes on the new Metro UI of Windows 8 for tablets, given its huge success on the mobile phone front. The tablet arena is still dominated by Apple and with their recent launch of the new iPad, the competition just got a bit fiercer. Currently, Android is the only real competitor to iOS on the tablet front, but due to fragmentation hasn’t been able to really capture the market. Windows 8 for tablets will follow the same strict guidelines as it did for mobile phones, thereby giving the user a uniform experience, irrespective of the manufacturer. This coupled with the new tweaks and changes in Windows 8 should give the user the best of both worlds' experience and this is exactly what Microsoft is hoping to achieve. According to Gartner, we’ll witness sales of more than 103 million tablet devices in 2012, with sales rising to 326.3 million in 2015. 

Another interesting thing to look forward to is how Microsoft will market x86 and ARM-based devices. We’ve seen from CES this year, that manufacturers are planning to build ARM-based notebooks as well, which they claim will be cheaper than x86-based notebooks and have better battery life. Right now, the only thing holding Win 8 ARM devices back is the lack of app support.  However, once developers start porting their apps over, we’ll have another CPU war on our hands and this time, it’ll be a three-way battle.

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