Report: Microsoft to launch dedicated tablet OS in late 2012

Are you jonesing for a dedicated Microsoft tablet OS? Well, you’ll just have to make do with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS until late 2012.

That’s right – because public beta testing of a new tablet-specific Windows OS will only kick off at the end of 2011.

According to Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg, Microsoft first needs to update its Windows 7 OS with touch screen enabled apps, while significantly improving the size and battery life of Windows-based tablets.

“If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle,” Gartenberg told Bloomberg.

“Battle lines are being drawn, land is being grabbed, users are being evangelized and spending money… It’s [just simply] not a good position [for Microsoft] to be in.”

Gartenberg added that a 2012 debut of a tablet specific Windows OS would likely pit the nascent operating system against more proven products, such as those designed by Apple (third-gen iPad), Android, HP and RIM.