Samsung unveils computers running on Windows 8

South Korea's Samsung Electronics unveiled notebook and tablet computers running on Windows 8 Tuesday, the latest firm to showcase products that use Microsoft's eagerly-awaited new operating system.

On the opening day of Asia's leading IT fair in Taipei, Samsung showcased the products, including the Series 5 Hybrid which has features of both a laptop and a tablet, in a low-key display.

"Visitors should be able to see the tight partnership between Samsung and Microsoft and Intel," said Lorraine Tsao, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Taiwan.

It came a day after Taiwanese rivals Acer and Asus unveiled products running on Windows 8, which is the focus of the annual Computex fair, in its 32nd year.

A new survey meanwhile showed that Samsung overtook Amazon in the first three months of the year to take second spot in the global market for tablet sales, but still lagged far behind Apple with its ever-popular iPad.

Windows 8 is touted as Microsoft's long-awaited riposte to the rise of Apple and mobile devices powered by Google's Android operating system. There is no official release date but reports have predicted an October launch.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer says that Windows 8 will support a wider range of devices including touch- and stylus-based smartphones and tablet PCs, as well as desktops and laptops.

The ABI Research survey, out Monday, showed that the iPad extended its lead in the global market for tablets in the first three months of the year, holding 65 percent of the market with 11.8 million shipments of the device.

Samsung grabbed the number two spot with 1.1 million shipments, or six percent of the market, overtaking Amazon, which saw an 80 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in sales of the Kindle Fire, according to ABI.

Computex features more than 1,800 exhibitors registering 5,400 booths, up two percent from a year ago.

The organisers estimate that the IT fair will draw 36,000 foreign buyers who may place bulk orders worth up to $28 billion.

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