Microsoft will show off a special version of Windows for devices using ARM chips at CES 2011, according to some major US news sources.

The recent New York Times' assertion that a tablet OS would be Windows 8 raised eyebrows and plenty of doubts, but that Microsoft will debut a tweaked user interface for touch has looked likely for some time, and it has now been suggested that the OS will be for ARM devices.

The slate OS, which will most probably be an adapted version of Windows 7, is likely to be the highlight of Microsoft's traditional curtain-raising keynote for CES 2011.

A matter of days

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg have insisted that Microsoft will show a slate offering in January at the Las Vegas consumer electronics show.

Interestingly, the suggestion is thatMicrosoft will show off Windows for ARM chips - an alternative to the Intel X86 architecture that has proliferated in PCs for years.

Cambridge-based ARM is the UK's most formidable tech company, and its chip designs have become commonplace in more and more devices over the past five years.

A Touch too little

Although Windows 7 tablets have emerged and the OS has a degree of touch usability, it cannot be considered an ideal solution for tablets.

Microsoft is aware that the growing desire for tablets, following the success of the iPad from rival Apple, means that it must react quickly.

And with Google's Android gaining traction and Chrome OS on the horizon, Microsoft will be desperate to strike while its well-received Windows 7 is fresh in the memory, and build on the arrival of its other touch enabled OS, Windows Phone 7 for mobile phones.

Stellar year

Tablets are being forecast to have a stellar year, and a slew of the devices are expected to be announced at CES.

Many of those will sport Android, but it now appears that there may be a few that come with the familiar Windows logo instead.

And then it will be over to Apple, whose iPad 2 is expected to surface in the next few months.