Microsoft set to show off Windows for tablets next week

Redmond expected to demo new tablet OS next week in California and Taiwan

Microsoft may essentially have been first to the market with the modern tablet computer, but Redmond has seen any advantage there erased by a failure on the software side. Windows just isn't meant for the touchscreen world. No doubt the company is eager to change that, and is said to be set to debut its tablet operating system shortly, sources say.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft would preview the platform in a set of demonstrations next week. The first comes at Walter Mossberg's All Things Digital D9 conference in California, followed by another overseas at the Computex show in Tapei. This would confirm reporting in March that indicated Microsoft was close to being ready to show off its work.

The tablet devices would run on NVidia's Tegra chip, which is intended for use in tablet devices. Nvidia says the dual-core chips are ideal for such small devices due to their low power consumption and integrated graphics processor.

While Redmond is taking the wraps off the tabletized Windows now, it's likely that the actual release will not come until March, Bloomberg says. It's pretty likely that the tablet platform would be built upon Windows 8, which may suggest that the desktop version of the software could be released around the same time.

Regaining some traction in the tablet market is arguably important for Microsoft. With 20 million iPads sold in a little over a year of availability, Apple's showing that there is pent-up demand out there.

If it does not capitalize soon, it could find itself in a similar situation to its experiences in digital music. There, the Zune just came too late to have a meaningful impact. That mistake is arguably the reason why to this day Apple still dominates digital music.

In tablets, it has an even bigger predicament: it will not only be behind Cupertino but Android as well, who is just now beginning to build market share. Will it be too late once again? It's too early to tell, but one thing is certain: the market is growing, and its a great time for anyone to attempt to stake their claim.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald and on Facebook.

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Tags tablet PCMicrosofthardware systemsWindowslaptopstablet PCssoftwaretabletsoperating systems

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Ed Oswald

PC World (US online)

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