This is going to be a huge week for Microsoft.
Today, the company is expected to announce its first tablet, which will be designed to compete with the iPad.
On Wednesday, we're expecting Microsoft to give us details on the next major version of its Windows Phone operating, which will likely be very similar to Windows 8.
Here's you need to know:
- Microsoft will announce its own tablet. This will be the first time Microsoft builds the hardware and software for a tablet.
- The tablet will run a special version of Windows 8 called "Windows RT." Windows RT is designed to run on devices with ARM processors. Those are the same types of processors found in smartphone and tablets (like the iPad) today. Windows RT won't be able to run today's traditional Windows apps, only apps from the Windows 8 app store.
- Microsoft may also announce a tablet that runs the full version of Windows 8. According to All Things D, there's a possibility Microsoft will announce a tablet powered by processors that allow it to run the full version of Windows 8. That means you'll be able to access the Windows 7-like desktop mode and run older Windows apps.
- There's a rumor Barnes & Noble will be involved (but don't believe it). According to TechCrunch, Microsoft's tablet announcement will be for a Nook-branded device made by Barnes & Noble. Microsoft recently invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble, so it's possible. However, Barnes & Noble shot down the Nook rumor.
- Microsoft may show off the next version of Windows Phone on Wednesday. Microsoft recently sent out invites to a developer event in San Francisco. We're guessing this will be our first look at "Apollo," the next operating system for Windows Phones. We know next to nothing about Apollo other than it'll likely be very similar to Windows RT for tablets. It probably won't work on current Windows Phones like Nokia's Lumia 900 either.
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