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Microsoft May Run WinRT on Qualcomm Processor

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - It seems that Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) isn't ready to bail on Windows RT or their Surface RT line of tablet computers. The software maker is reportedly ready to make a switch from Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report) processors to one of Qualcomm's (QCOM - Get Report) new devices as well as upgrade the operating system software to Windows 8.1.

According to a number of sources, Microsoft is currently testing newly updated Surface tablets which use Qualcomm's new line of micro-processors - including their upcoming "800" series chip. In early testing the 800 seems to be a powerhouse processor.

One inside source thinks that Microsoft might also continue to use Nvidia's Tegra 3 chips in some of their RT tablets and might even be considering using the next generation Tegra 4 processors in future devices.

Surface RT tablets run on Windows RT - the version of Windows 8 created to work on ARM-based computers. Like Microsoft's own Surface device. Windows RT is made to look and feel like the full, Intel (INTC - Get Report)/X86 version of Windows 8. But, except for Microsoft's Office suite included as standard equipment, all other applications must be downloaded from the online RT store. That means all of the beloved, legacy Windows programs won't run on RT.

The first round of Surface RT tablets with Nvidia inside were Wi-fi only. But that will change if they choose Qualcomm processors. Qualcomm's line of chips contain the company's LTE technology/connectivity and should provide Microsoft and their Surface tablets another sales channel, this time, through wireless/cellular providers.

Whatever Microsoft and partners are planning should be known soon. This year's holiday shopping season is fast approaching.

In mid-day trading, Microsoft was slipping 0.2% to $34.92.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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