How do you test a Windows 8 Beta without a tablet?

So one of the most interesting things about the upcoming Windows 8 Beta that we’re expecting this January (hopefully at or close to the time of CES 2012) is the fact that Windows 8 is also a tablet Operating System.

It will run on both traditional PC’s, notebooks and tablets.

This begs the obvious question – how are we going to be able to test this OS on a tablet? Obviously if you’re one of the lucky 5000 developers who got a  Samsung Tablet at the BUILD conference, the answer is obvious – upgrade your tablet.

For the rest of us though, the answer is not so obvious.

I had reported in an earler post a rumor that Microsoft was going to (with an OEM partner) release a tablet with Windows 8 Beta on it that would enable the general public to get their hands on Windows 8 hardware to test the new OS.

Since I have no independent corroboration that this will indeed be true, we are left wondering how this will work.

I don’t know about you guys and girls out there but this is really fascinating stuff to me. We are in uncharted territory. Since the concept of the commercial tablet is relatively new, this has never been done or attempted before.

Typically software betas are just dumped out there for the brave to try on a spare PC with all the associated normal disclaimers. No one has ever dumped a tablet Operating System Beta on the market and said “it works.. really it does”.

That would be what Microsoft will be doing if they indeed release the Windows 8 Beta in January with no way for interested parties to get their hands on tablets.

So here are the options I see so far:

  1. Microsoft release the Beta with no associated tablets – trust us
  2. Microsoft (with an OEM partner) release Windows 8 Beta compatible tablets
  3. Some third option I haven’t thought of.

As CES 2012 draws nearer, it becomes more pertinent to ask, how will we test a Windows 8 Beta version without a tablet?

So here’s a little poll. Let me know what you think…

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