This is too elaborate to be a hoax — besides which, the posters in Chinese forums don’t tend to do hoaxes.
In June, Onda will offer a download of Windows 8.x that can be installed on its Intel 64-bit Retina-class 9.7-inch screen V975i tablet [Google Translate].
For those who can read the Chinese:
The Onda V975i could be a superior tablet to the current Amlogic M805-based V975M. We’ll have to wait to see what the benchmarks say. But Onda is pushing this tablet hard.
The Onda V975i is a 9.7-inch tablet with a Retina-class screen using a 64-bit Intel 3735D (x86-based) CPU running at 1.83GHz with 2GBs of RAM and 32GBs of internal storage.
If you can’t see any difference in the above to the Amlogic-based V975M, that’s intentional on Onda’s part. They’ve dramatically tinkered with Android to make it more iOS-like and they call it “Onda ROM.” This gives all of their tablets a consistent user experience.
What no one else is yet saying is that what Onda is doing is the likely the first move in what all Chinese tablet makers will be doing in June.
Microsoft has made Windows free for tablets smaller than nine-inches. This tablet doesn’t qualify for that, so this will likely be a download that needs to be activated post-installation with a fee to Microsoft (or to Onda, who will pass it on to Microsoft).
But the big thing is that other Chinese tablet makers will probably follow this lead. Windows RT has already been shown to run on the Allwinner A31s — and there are lots of those tablets out there. Will every one of them have the chance to run Windows RT — for free?
And there are already many Intel-inside Chinese tablets out there. Will all of them get a free Windows 8.x download in June?
It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this works out.
First, that Retina-class screen on the V975i is going to be hell for using Windows 8.x desktop UI elements. But it will make this the first 4:3 aspect ratio iPad-like tablet to run Windows.
Second, did Microsoft fully understand the Pandora’s Box they were opening with legacy devices the Chinese have already placed in the market? This seems like it can spin out of control very quickly.
Third, how exactly is this Windows download going to work with the existing Android already on the V975i? Will there be some sort of dual-boot scheme involved from Intel?
Microsoft might think that the more devices out there running Windows, the better it is for them.
I think they’re in for some Revenge Effects they never considered.