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Microsoft to Sell Branded Tablet PCs, Report Says

Windows 8 new Start screen

June 1, 2011: At the AllThingsD conference in California, Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky showed off a revamped, tablet-friendly Start screen for Microsoft Windows 8 that borrows heavily from the company's designs for Windows Phone. (Microsoft)

The Windows software giant may be opening a new door.

Microsoft, the company responsible for the Windows operating system that powers most desktop computers in the world, is considering releasing a branded tablet computer to coincide with the release of the Windows 8 operating system at the end of 2012, reported microprocessor industry bible Digitimes.

The company would work with Texas Instruments and various Taiwanese hardware manufacturers to make the device, sources told the paper.

A Microsoft spokeswoman did not deny the report, instead telling FoxNews.com that "we don’t have any information to share at this time."

Microsoft has been seeking business opportunities outside of PC-related markets and is aggressively launching branded products of its own, the paper wrote.

"Xbox 360 is currently the only own-brand product line that Microsoft has achieved success [with], while Zune media player, Kin smartphone and own-brand TVs all had unsatisfactory performance. However, Microsoft is still considering to launch an own-brand tablet PC and is proceeding on a low profile," Digitimes wrote.

Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky showed off a prototype Windows 8 tablet at the All Things D conference in California last week -- and tablets such as Apple's "magical" iPad and those running Google's Android were clearly on the company's mind.

The new tablet-friendly operating system will function much like the Windows Phone 7 platform, with tiles you can flick around the screen, click to start an app, or reposition anyway you want.

The hardware for this new batch of tablets will likely mirror what's already on the market: tablets like the Motorola Xoom and Acer Iconia A500 that use the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor (and run the competing Google Android 3.0 operating system). The dual-core 1-GHz chip runs lightening fast for browsing the Web, playing games, and playing movies. Those tablets sport front- and rear-facing cameras, boast sharp graphics, and work well for touchscreen games.

The news of Windows 8 tablets comes as computing shifts from total reliance on desktops and laptops to a new touchscreen paradigm. 

Microsoft attempted to capture the tablet market once already, launching the Tablet PC platform over a decade ago.