updated 01:55 pm EDT, Tue September 13, 2011
Microsoft gives away Windows 8 Samsung tablet
As expected, Microsoft at Build gave away 5,000 units of a special edition of the Samsung Slate PC Series 7 tablet to show off the Windows 8 Developer Preview. The 11.6-inch Windows Developer Preview PC tablet has been upgraded to take advantage of the new OS with the appropriate sensors. A UEFI (universal extensible firmware interface) foundation lets it boot from the 64GB SSD in as little as three seconds.
As proof of the always on Internet access, each device will also get a free 2GB of 3G from AT&T per month for the next year. Windows 8 has a new mode known as connected standby that can stay near silent but periodically wake up Internet access to get updates.
The tablet continues to share much of what the regular Series 7 does, including a 1366x768 display that can support both finger and pen touch. A low-voltage Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, HDMI and microSD slots are built-in along with the usual USB, although Samsung's special dock still works and adds Ethernet along with additional expansion.
As designed, the Windows 8 tablet is intended for developer work and the option of debugging on the very same hardware apps are intended to support. During its Build keynote, however, Microsoft showed ARM-based tablets with the promise that they would have more power efficiency than their Intel counterparts.
In its current state, the reference design points to Windows 8 tablets behaving more like conventional PCs than mobile OS-based tablets like the iPad or Android tablets. Microsoft hasn't finished but might not give an indication of the real change until early next year and public previews.