Microsoft has claimed that its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system will provide the foundations for a new raft of devices that businesses have been crying out for, such as ruggerdised tablets.

Erwin Visser, a Windows product marketing executive at Microsoft, said that the Windows 8 would bring tablets, ultrabooks, and all-in-ones that were designed for enterprise use.

These include ruggedised tablets designed for extreme outdoor use and ones that could be sterilised for use in hospitals.

"These will be the tablets that the enterprise has been waiting for," he said during a discussion with journalists.

Visser also heralded the enterprise capabilities of the new breed of Windows RT ARM-based devices that will accompany the release of Windows 8.

Firms with large numbers of staff working in the field are desperate for thin, light and long-lasting devices that will now be possible with Windows running on ARM processors, said Visser.