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Fresh glimpse of Windows RT at Computex

A glimpse of something potentially exciting in the Nvidia booth at the Computex conference: a tablet running Windows RT, or the version of the Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system designed to work on ARM processors (such as, surprise, surprise, the Nvidia Tegra 3).

Unfortunately, Nvidia had the Asus Tablet 600 on which Windows RT was installed shielded safely behind a glass case, and the reps we talked to there wouldn't take it out for us. If the rumour floating around the show was true, that this was the only Windows RT device that actually arrived in Taipei intact, then their caution makes sense.

But the photo gives you an idea of the kind of device you can expect to run this super-optimised OS, which also imposes stringent hardware requirements on manufacturers, like a certain number of buttons, five touch points on the screen, carefully defined minimums on storage capacity and screen resolution, and so on.

The Tablet 600 wasn't as sleek as Asus's other products, such as its Zenbook line or even the Transformer Prime it also introduced at Computex. But with a crisp, 10.1-inch display, a decent chiclet-style keyboard, and a good-size touch pad, what it lacked in style it made up in utility.

Windows RT will also reportedly only run software available through the Windows Store, or included in the distribution, which means there will be plenty of restrictions on users as well. And if the devices grow in popularity and take off, it seems likely that could accelerate the death of the desktop some tech pundits see as the ultimate goal of Windows 8's Metro interface. That Windows RT is, at a glance, indistinguishable from Windows 8, which is otherwise ruling Computex, only muddies the waters further - undoubtedly to Microsoft's benefit.

So here's your first glimpse at Windows RT, a tablet that runs it, and the Nvidia booth, which was the pilgrimage point for all Windows RT-starved attendees at the conference What will happen from here remains to be seen, but we hope Nvidia and Microsoft lift the glass case soon and show the world this new, and potentially groundbreaking, fusion of software and hardware.