At long last, the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 8 Tablet may soon see the light of day.

Even though the operating system isn't set for an official release until late next year, there are reports that Samsung has built a tablet running the OS and will be unveiled at Microsoft's BUILD developers' conference next week. The introduction would represent the first time that Samsung and Microsoft actively collaborated together on hardware design. In the context of recent events, it probably won't be the last, either.

Lacking any official details, we're left to speculate on what lurks inside. Windows 8 includes support for ARM-based  processors, and conditions are ripe for NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA) new quad-core mobile processor, code-named "Kal-El," to win a spot much to Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) dismay. Such an inclusion would add some color to NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's recent bullishness, estimating that the company's mobile-chip business will grow to $20 billion by 2015 -- a tenfold increase over four years.

Microsoft had already unveiled a number of ARM-powered Windows 8 prototypes back in June along with the OS itself. I happen to be a little skeptical about a single unified OS for desktops, laptops, and tablets. As a user of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Mac OS X Lion, I'm not a fan of all the iPad-inspired elements like full-screen apps and Launchpad. Sharing an entire operating system is a little too much for this Fool, as integrated as it may be.

As a tablet OS, Windows 8 looks very promising. Although if Windows 8 tablets don't reach consumers' hands until late 2012, by then the iPad 3 will presumably already be out with the iPad 4 in the pipeline a few short months away. The collaboration with Samsung is probably a foreshadowing of things to come, since Sammy probably doesn't take kindly to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) favoritism.

What about you? Will you buy a Samsung-built Windows 8 tablet instead of an iPad 3? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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