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Windows for tablets coming ‘late 2012’

Touch-friendly Windows tablets trail competition

Asus Eee Slate EP121

Asus is releasing a Windows 7 tablet, but it’s not heavily optimised for tablet use. 

Sources speaking to Bloomberg BusinessWeek indicate a tablet version of Windows won’t be unveiled until 2012.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Steve Ballmer – head of Microsoft – indicated its next version of Windows would support ARM processors, the same type used on most tablets. Now sources speaking to Bloomberg have indicated a tablet version of Windows won’t be released until late 2012.

It is not clear if this new version of Windows would be Windows 8, or a revised version of Windows 7 optimised for tablets.

A launch date of late 2012 would likely put Windows-based tablets up against the third-generation iPad; the iPad 2 was announced this week and is due to go on sale on 25 March in the UK and 11 March in the US.

Read our Apple iPad 2 first look review for more info and to watch our video review.

Windows 7 tablets

Though a tablet version of Windows seems a long way away, Which? did get a first look at some Windows-based tablets at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in January. Asus has the Eee Slate EP121, a 12-inch Windows 7 tablet that equals the power of most laptops but doesn’t feature a built-in keyboard.

Samsung also demonstrated a Windows tablet  – the Samsung TX100. It acts like a laptop or netbook as it has a slide-out keyboard, though Samsung has created its own touch interface for Windows. Dell released the Inspiron Duo before Christmas with a similar design.

Watch our video first looks of the Asus Eee Slate EP121 and Samsung TX100.

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