updated 06:25 pm EDT, Sat September 10, 2011
Samsung Windows 8 reference tablet may not go ARM
Samsung's Windows 8 reference tablet due at Microsoft's Build conference next week might still be using Intel processors. A new slip late Friday maintained that, in spite of its slim and possibly quad-core design pointing to ARM, "at least one version" would still have the familiar x86 architecture would still be in place. The CNET tip hesitated to say it wouldn't be shown with ARM and left the door open to both being on display.
The design might be given out to developers at Build but isn't expected to translate into a shipping product for the public as-is. Samsung might adapt it or use it as the foundation for a shipping product when Windows 8 is ready in mid-2012.
Supporting ARM is considered crucial for Microsoft. It hopes to regain relevancy in tablets after losing its position to Apple in just nine months, some of which has been attributed to its dependence on Intel-based chips. Sluggish improvements to Intel's mobile chips have often left Windows 7 tablets at inherent disadvantages to the iPad and smaller opponents using Android, often giving them half the battery life and much thicker, heavier designs.
The first batch of processors expected to support Windows 8 isn't due until 2012 and might explain the focus on Intel. Samsung may have access to production samples but might not necessarily have them for a public prototype.