Microsoft's Build conference in September was full of ARM devices running the Windows 8 developer preview, but word out of Taipei today suggests that we may be a fair distance away from actually seeing them on sale. DigiTimes reports that sources from within notebook vendors have identified June 2013 as the launch window for new ARM-based Windows 8 laptops. Microsoft is widely expected to release Windows 8 in the latter half of 2012, and while the DigiTimes report goes on to note that ARM machines with the new OS will make "an official appearance" at the end of that year, it won't be until the middle of 2013 that you'll be able to buy one.
Of course, Microsoft's main demo device at Build was a tablet, not a laptop, and we may be looking at a delayed launch for ARM-based laptops while Windows 8 slates debut alongside the OS' launch. Moreover, this information will have been sourced from the local Taiwanese device vendors — such as Acer, Asus, and MSI — but we doubt it includes information from the two US giants, HP and Dell. They, along with Samsung and LG from South Korea, may have more aggressive roadmaps for bringing Windows 8, ARM processors, and the laptop form factor together. We'll just have to wait and see.
One thing's for sure, though. When the PC vendors do decide they're ready to start shipping ARM Windows 8 devices, SoC makers like Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments will have the quad-core processors at the ready to power them.
Update: This report ties in very well with what Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had to say back at Asia D. Jen-Hsun saw it as favorable for Microsoft to introduce Windows on ARM strictly on tablets at first — so as not to confuse consumers. Laptops are still seen as "PCs," meaning devices compatible with legacy software, so in his eyes and presumably those of device vendors, it makes sense to introduce ARM to the keyboard-equipped slate form factor later on and in a clearly delineated fashion.