Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will join the ranks of Windows RT vendors launching ARM-based Windows 8 products this year.
The trio's devices will join the likes of Acer and its 600 tablet, Toshiba’s planned notebook and tablet devices, as well as Microsoft’s own Surface offering.
Microsoft last month admitted Surface could potentially harm its OEM relationships, with Acer publicly slamming the company for its decision to launch its own line of tablet devices.
Details are yet to be released around the three new Windows RT offerings. Microsoft said the devices would launch on October 26, in line with the launch of Windows 8.
Windows RT is an ARM-optimised version of the Windows 8 operating system, designed for tablets and smartphones.
Microsoft said upcoming Windows RT devices would include tablets and laptops in a variety of designs.
“You can expect to see everything from ultra-thin sleek designs with stunning high-resolution displays, to beautifully designed All-In-One PCs with large immersive displays complete with touch, to high-power towers rocking multiple graphics cards and high-performance storage arrays,” Microsoft’s Mike Angiulo said in a blog post.
"Some of our Windows RT PCs come with full keyboard and touchpad solutions, whether removable/dockable or a traditional clamshell.”
Screen sizes will range from 10.1 to 11.6 inches. Angiulo said several of the new devices would be 11 percent thinner than Apple’s iPad and 20 percent lighter, while others would come in 84 percent heavier and 66 percent thicker.
All three PC makers are staying tight-lipped on details of their respective Windows RT devices.
Microsoft is also yet to reveal pricing of its own Surface products, but a Swedish retailer leaked the costs online late last month.
Microsoft's 32GB Windows RT model will reportedly retail for about $A977 - a lower price point than the comparable laptop/tablet hybrid Asus Transformer Pad Infinity ($999).
According to online retailer webhallen.com, the top end 128GB Windows 8 hybrid device will sell for about $2097.
Fellow mobile giant HTC was reportedly barred from developing Windows 8 devices over a perceived lack of experience and sales.
The company was shut out from Microsoft’s new operating system because the software giant was concerned HTC was not a big enough player in the mobile market. HTC ranks fifth in the smartphone market with five percent of market share, according to IDC.
PC behemoth HP recently canned plans to launch a Windows RT-based tablet in favour of a slate aimed at the enterprise, running Windows 8 on an x86 chipset.
An unknown tablet appeared in a promotional photo and video on HP’s website, giving credence to earlier rumours HP was working on its Slate 8, an x86-powered tablet with a 10.1-inch screen.
The tablet shown in the video and photo aligns with reports of the Slate 8’s design, boasting a metallic body with black antenna section for 3G/4G capability. The tablet has been reported to be 9.2mm thick with up to ten hours of battery life.
The cost of competition
Despite avoiding the question of cost, Microsoft is expected to charge tablet manufacturers between $US80 and $US95 for each copy of Windows RT.
Multiple vendors at the Computex show in Taiwan earlier this year flagged $US85 as the expected price, according to VR-Zone.
Microsoft's ARM-based RT variant of Surface will launch on October 26 this year, while the Intel-based Surface Pro won’t arrive until January 2013.