A: No, Windows 8 slates won't be bulky at all. The ARM processor was designed for mobile devices with a low power consumption goal, and Windows RT enables primarily consumer devices to take advantage of ARM-centric hardware.

However, for the full Windows 8 experience with all the local capabilities, including running desktop applications (not only Metro applications, which use WinRT), BitLocker, Storage Spaces and more, organizations and consumers will need to purchase an x86-based device running Windows 8. Although x86 processors feature more advanced instruction sets and capabilities, which generally means a larger physical processor and greater power requirements, both Intel and AMD have been working on new fabrication processes to reduce the physical size of their processors while increasing capabilities and lowering power consumption.

Looking at Intel and the recent release of Ivy Bridge generation of desktop processors, which use 22 nanometer fabrication, and the upcoming mobile processor, Clover Trail, which uses 32 nanometer fabrication, we see some interesting goals that equate to a great Windows 8 x86 form factor device. Below are some key metrics for Clover Trail processors and the Cloverview platform from Intel:

  • 9 hours battery life in use
  • 3G/4G support
  • NFC and Wi-Fi Direct
  • Connected standby
  • 30 days standby
  • Less than 1.5 lbs (iPad 3 is 1.44 pounds). There are ultrabooks out there now that are 1.5lbs. Make that a pure slate and you are at 1.2lbs!
  • <9mm thick (iPad 3 is 9.4mm thick)

It should be noted that the Intel road map shows 14nm processors in 2013 and 10nm in 2015, with 7nm and 5nm on the road map for the future.