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It must be nice to be a Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows developer after the opening keynote at yesterday's BUILD developer conference.
Mr. Softy kicked off the conference, which lasts through the end of the week, with a demo of a fleshed-out developer version of Windows 8. The company handed out 5,000 tablets preloaded with a Developer Preview version of the OS, along with a year of 3G service provided by AT&T (NYSE: T ) .
The tablet is built by Samsung, which we already suspected, but it didn't sport an ARM Holdings-based processor like NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA ) quad-core Tegra 3, which I thought was going to do the heavy lifting. Instead, an Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) dual-core 1.6GHz Core i5 won the processor slot. Other standard specs include an 11.6-inch display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of solid state drive storage, a gyroscope, and HDMI, USB, and Ethernet ports. Digging a little deeper, you'll find the touchscreen microcontroller is in Atmel's (Nasdaq: ATML ) maXTouch family; the one found here is the first to support Windows 8.
There were other units on demo that weren't handed out to the masses. NVIDIA's Tegra 3 did make it into one of the demo units, along with Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) .
In an intriguing semantic move, the company continues to refer to the devices as "PCs," rejecting the "post-PC" term that Steve Jobs popularized when introducing Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPad 2 earlier this year. To be fair, the moniker is somewhat fitting since the device will also support Windows 7 apps, unlike the iPad, which supports only iOS apps.
Distancing it from the iPad is a smart move, since non-iPad tablets aren't doing so hot. By scooting down the spectrum closer to the PC end, it will target a slightly different audience. Microsoft is making an ambitious move with Windows 8, and frankly, it needs to be bold if the company ever hopes to get up to speed in mobile.
What do you think? Can Microsoft succeed in the tablet market where others have failed? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.