Microsoft’s upcoming Surface seems to have opened the floodgates as far as the tablet market is concerned. Google have entered the 7” tablet fray with the Nexus 7 (expected to ship later this month), and even Apple are rumoured to be working on a miniature version of the iPad (though many think this rumour baseless; Apple have always had very clear ideas on screen size). But perhaps the most surprising update is Samsung’s announcement that they’re prepping a tablet to run on Windows RT. For the uninitiated, Windows RT is a stripped-down version of Windows 8 designed to run on devices using ARM-based processors, such as tablets. The OS is sold only to developers, for the express purpose of preloading onto their devices; it is not intended as a standalone product for consumers. So why have Samsung opted to follow Microsoft’s lead, and release a new tablet to coincide with the release of Windows 8, when they’ve traditionally been associated with Android? Surely it would make more sense for the South Korean chaebol to utilize Google’s upcoming Android 4.1, Jelly Bean – or even wait for their much-anticipated Chrome OS, which is ultimately expected to homogenize the Google user experience and act as a bridge between laptops, tablets and Smartphones. There are a number of explanations. The most obvious is the notion that Samsung have already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Android market: they’re exceeded only by Apple as the premier provider of Smartphones (at least in terms of profits). It would make sense to try and diversify their market with a tablet utilizing a new OS, rather than stick to the same, tired iterations of Android. More ominously, this could signal a sea-shift in Samsung’s attitudes towards Google. Many have hypothesized that Samsung are attempting to distance themselves from Google, recently - though Google make a show of support for all adopters of their Android OS, Samsung has recently made the decision to utilize the Tizen operating system on their lower-spec Smartphones, despite the surfeit of older versions of Android (such as Froyo and Gingerbread) that are perfectly suited for this task. Samsung clearly want a little more autonomy in terms of software; or perhaps they’re just uncomfortable with putting all of their eggs in Google’s basket. Whatever the case may be – whether diversifying their market share, or radically shifting dimensions into a new one entirely – Samsung’s tablet is slated for release in October, which will coincide with the release of both Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet. They’ll have a lot of work ahead of them; with both a new OS to tinker with, and a hardy market opponent in the form of the Surface, diversifying into the Windows tablet market will be an uphill struggle. But assuming they can overshadow their Microsoft competition, Samsung stand to gain substantial profits from this move!