Microsoft announces Windows RT, Windows 8 tablet partners

New tablet devices from OEMs will ship on same day as Microsoft Surface tablet, according to Microsoft's blog.

Microsoft Vice President Mike Angiulo, writing in the Windows engineering blog, said that several top tablet manufacturers will be releasing new Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets on October 26--the same day that Windows 8 ships and the same day that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will release the Microsoft Surface RT. The new tablets will come from Asus, Lenovo, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Samsung. Toshiba may also ship a new Windows 8 tablet on that day.

Angiulo also included some intriguing information about the new version of Windows RT, most notably the fact that the new operating system uses a single binary for all devices. This means that ARM-based processors from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments will all use the same operating software.

The single binary approach, in which only one version of Windows RT is available for all platforms, is similar to how Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) handles iOS, except that with Windows RT it spans several manufacturers. This also means that Microsoft, by supporting only a single binary, will avoid the chaos and fragmentation that has plagued Android tablets, and it means that all Windows RT tablets will be able to be updated at the same time.

Microsoft isn't releasing its Windows 8 Pro Surface tablet until January 2013. However other manufacturers aren't waiting that long. Lenovo, Dell and other companies have already said that they will be selling tablets with Windows 8 Professional pre-loaded in October.

Angiulo said in his blog entry that Windows RT and Windows 8 share a significant amount of code, and that most applications available from the Microsoft app store will work with both versions of Windows. In addition, Windows 8 Professional will also run most Windows 7 compatible applications, although some of those applications won't be touch enabled. However, they will still run properly.

The Microsoft announcement underscores the company's approach of producing a high quality tablet that can also serve as a reference standard. In addition, Angiulo said that Microsoft is collaborating closely with its OEM partners to ensure that they can produce tablets that can function properly, maintain quality and that will present a variety of choices to consumers and enterprises. Angiulo said that Microsoft had already provided over 1100 seed units to partners to help with the collaboration.

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