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What's happening with Clover Trail and Windows 8?

Bloomberg says the go-ahead has not been given but Intel says it is. More trouble in the old Wintel alliance?

Vendors should know by now that when you can't get the story straight, people don't buy. So Intel and Microsoft need to get on a firm, clear page regarding certification of the Intel "Clover Trail" processor and Windows 8, because right now it's muddy.

Bloomberg reports that a tiff has broken out between Microsoft and Intel. Intel has been slow in delivering software to manage battery life in Atom-based tablets using the new generation of processors codenamed "Clover Trail."

Microsoft in turn hasn’t yet approved any tablets featuring Clover Trail because Intel hasn’t produced the power-management software, said a person who asked not to be named.

Clover Trail is formally known as the Intel Atom Processor Z2760 and is built specifically for Windows 8 tablets. When it was announced in late September, Intel said it would go into tablets as thin as 8.5mm and as light as 1.5 lbs while still providing dual-core, four-thread performance with more than three weeks of connected standby and more than 10 hours of local HD video playback.

In its September 27 announcement, Intel said Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Samsung and ZTE would all ship Z2760-based tablets in the coming months.

Getting a straight answer isn't so easy. A spokesperson for Intel says "We did announce Clover Trail last week. And I can tell you that Intel has met all the requirements for Windows 8 hardware/software certification on our Clover Trail SoC."

Microsoft, on the other hand, tells me "Microsoft has worked closely with Intel and our hardware partners and has certified some 800 machines with the new software. We look forward to the new Atom-based offerings from Intel to complement the already strong Windows 8 and Windows RT ecosystem."

So for the tie breaker I went to Acer. A spokesperson for the company said it anticipates no delays in releasing its Clover Trail products.

It took a while but the answer seems to lean toward Clover Trail tablets shipping on time. But it's not conclusive. This isn't a unified front, which Windows 8 needs. All parties need to be on the same page, singing the same verses for Windows 8 to succeed.

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