Only a handful of Windows RT devices will appear initially, as Microsoft wades slowly into new Windows waters, sources told CNET. Chipmakers Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments will initially get two "slots" each for devices, according to sources familiar with Microsoft's plans.
"ARM is restricted to two designs each, meaning six total initial designs," one source said, referring to the chip design from U.K.-based ARM that those three suppliers use.
Windows RT -- aka, Windows on ARM -- is the first mainstream, desktop-class Windows operating system to run on ARM chips. This presents a challenge for Microsoft because each ARM chip vendor's platform is different. On the other hand, Intel is expected to have more than a dozen Windows 8 designs.
Though final product decisions have not been made in some cases, Nvidia's chips may land in Windows RT designs from Asus and Lenovo. Those designs could be a tablet, a hybrid tablet-laptop, or a more conventional clamshell laptop design.