Asus, Acer First Up With Windows 8 Convertible Tablets

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In addition to Taiwanese manufacturers such as Asus and Acer, other PC makers, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, are expected to launch laptops, tablets and possibly new hybrid form factors running Windows 8 later this year. The release of the new OS has been widely considered a make-or-break move for Microsoft in the mobile market, where it has struggled to compete against smartphone and tablet giants Apple and Google.

Industry researcher Strategy Analytics pegged Apple's iOS as accounting for 57.6 percent of the global tablet OS market at the end of last year. Google's Android was next with 39.1 percent of the market, while Microsoft trailed behind significantly with a meager 1.5 percent.

Windows 8, along with Windows RT -- a modified version of the new OS that will be optimized for ARM-based mobile devices -- could give Microsoft the boost it needs to grow this number and capture some of this share from Apple and Google.

"The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space," Strategy Analytics wrote in January.

The Computex Taipei event, which is the largest computing trade show in Asia and the second largest worldwide, is expected to play host this week to a number of Windows 8-specific announcements and debuts. According to the event's website, nearly 120,000 attendees are expected.

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