Although system builders were supposed to dash off the starting line with seemingly dozens of Windows 8 tablets following the operating system's October 25 launch, most major players seem to have stalled at the gates -- particularly when it comes to Atom-based devices.

Intel's Clover Trail platform is expected to power various slates, including Dell's Latitude 10, which was previously scheduled to ship well ahead of Christmas on December 12 but has recently been updated with a shipping date of January 22, more than a month late.

Likewise, HP's Clover Trail-powered Envy x2 convertible has been pushed from an unspecified day in November to January 8, while Asus and Lenovo still lack hard release dates for the Intel-based VivoTab Smart and ThinkPad Tablet 2, but they likely won't arrive this year. InformationWeek notes that Acer's W510 is the only noteworthy Clover Trail tablet on shelves, and it's only available in limited quantities.

According to unnamed sources cited by InformationWeek, these setbacks are the result of ongoing driver complications. It's said that PC makers are having trouble coding drivers that are stable enough to pass Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification, which is required before the slates are made available for purchase -- a situation Intel and Microsoft have declined to comment on.

Although manufacturers clearly hoped to launch their devices in time for the holiday shopping season, DISCERN analyst Cindy Shaw noted that some vendors won't necessarily be greatly affected by the delay. "HP and Dell are conceding they've given up on the consumer, so missing the holiday season is not that big of a deal. They're not missing that magical time of the year," Shaw said, adding that the companies should still be hustling to ship their devices if they intend to secure enterprise sales.