October 12, 2012, 2:47 PM — Dell will continue offering Windows 7 even after the release of Windows 8 at the end of October, the company said.
The Windows 7 OS, which reached PCs in October of 2009, will be offered as an option to commercial and gaming customers, said Alison Gardner, director at Dell. The company will offer Windows 7 as long as it is allowed to, Gardner said.
"We're still moving our business customers from [Windows] XP to Windows 7, Gardner said.
The company is continuing to recommend that customers migrate to Windows 7 and that those who need touch capabilities on PCs adopt Windows 8, Gardner said.
"The OS migration for a large company is no small feat. We make it easier but it takes some planning and work," Gardner said.
For gamers and enthusiasts buying Dell's Alienware laptops and desktops, Windows 7 will be offered as an OS option.
"For Alienware customers, they know what they want and we give them that choice," Gardner said.
Both Windows 7 and 8 will be offered as options on the Latitude, OptiPlex and Precision brands, the company said.
A specific end-of-sales date for Windows 7 by retailers and PC makers is yet to be determined, according to the Windows lifecycle page. But Microsoft has allowed sales of previous versions of Windows even after a new version is released.
Microsoft two years ago introduced a plan in which boxed versions of the previous Windows version can be sold for up to a year after the release of the latest version. Under the same plan, PC makers could preload the previous OS for up to two years. PC makers were allowed to sell PCs with the failed Windows Vista OS until Oct. 22, 2011. But an exception to the rule was the popular Windows XP, which was released in December 2001 and sold on PCs till October 2010. Buyers who didn't want Vista in some cases bought PCs with Windows XP.
Tablets and laptops with Windows 8 and Windows RT have already been announced by top PC makers including Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. New Dell XPS laptops and all-in-ones that went on sale Friday were available with only Windows 8 OS as an option. But some of the new PCs have touchscreens, and Windows 8 is Microsoft's first OS designed with touch in mind.
One of the new Dell PCs is the XPS 12 ultrabook, with a 12.5-inch touchscreen that can be flipped to turn the thin-and-light laptop into a tablet, Gardner said. The screen can display images at a high-definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.
"Not only is this an ultrabook, it also has a flip hinge design that converts it into a tablet," Gardner said.
The ultrabook is primarily a laptop, Gardner said, adding that she envisions about 30 percent of the device's usage to be in tablet form.