Microsoft unveils Windows 8 tablet effort with Samsung prototype

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Microsoft offered an extended preview of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system at a conference on Tuesday, providing developers with a prototype Samsung tablet running a "pre-beta" version of the OS.



The Redmond, Wash., software giant's announcements at the Build conference in Anaheim, Calif., caused a stir, with some pundits prematurely heralding the downfall of Apple's iPad. Microsoft indicated that it will remain committed to its "no compromise" strategy of bringing a full-featured Windows operating system to the tablet form factor.



"We re-imagined Windows," Microsoft's Windows division president Steven Sinofsky said. "From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise."



In an effort to foster early development for the platform, which is set to arrive next year, Microsoft gave each of the 5,000 attendees a prototype tablet, dubbed Windows 8 Developer Preview, that it had co-developed with Samsung. The Intel i5-based tablet came packed with Internet Explorer 10 and a host of apps developed by Microsoft interns.



The device is a re-tooled version of Samsung's Series 7 tablet, featuring a 1.6GHz processor, 11.6-inch screen, front and rear cameras, and HDMI port, USB port, microSD slot and a SIM-card slot. The companies also included a charging dock with USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports, a Bluetooth keyboard and a stylus pen. AT&T partnered up to offer a year of 3G service for the devices to Build attendees, though the free plan is capped at 2GB of data per month.



The company reminded developers that the Developer Preview, which has been called "pre-beta," is still a work in progress. "This is a pre-release product," the Associated Foreign Press reported Sinofsky as saying. "You saw some little snafus today; there are going to be more of them."







As demonstrated at the conference, Windows 8 draws from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 unique tile interact for its Metro touch layer. "Icons are yesterday?s way of representing apps, tiles are today?s way of representing apps,? said Microsoft manager Jensen Harris.



The Windows 8 prototype tablet has drawn immediate criticism for the inclusion of a cooling fan. "Fan noise is very noticeable, as is the heat coming out of the top vent," noted This is my next's Joanna Stern.



She also took issue with switching between the Metro and Desktop interfaces. "The whole user experience feels schizophrenic, with users having to jump back and forth between the two paradigms, each of which seem like they might be better off on their own," she wrote.









Stern also expressed disappointment that Microsoft had downplayed ARM architecture support during its presentation, favoring instead the x86 architecture. "A fast boot doesn?t excuse the slow wake-up times compared to ARM-based cellphones and tablets," she said, adding that ARM received only a "token gesture" during a demo session.



For its part, Intel has struggled to build mobile processors capable of running in the low energy, low heat capacity needed for tablets. Interestingly enough, Google announced on Tuesday a partnership with Intel to bring its Android mobile operating system to the chipmaker's Atom processors. Apple had originally been rumored to be considering Atom chips for the iPad and iPhone, but the company eventually settled on a custom ARM-based solution.



Microsoft on Tuesday also further confirmed its plans for a Windows application store, similar to Apple's own App Store. ARM-based Windows 8 applications will only be available through the "Windows Store," which will also have the requirement that all submitted apps support the Metro interface.



An early build of Windows 8 had hinted that Microsoft was planning to make the software scalable across a variety of form factors. In June, the company offered a preview of the operating system, highlighting HTML5 and Javascript apps that will take advantage of the touch interface.
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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,280member
    So what happens with this thing? Given that the design is even more like the iPad than the Galaxy Tab's?



    One button. Circular. With a logo on it.



    I MEAN, COME ON.



    Does Son Samsung think that if he sidles up to Daddy Microsoft that the big, mean Apple Bully won't pick on him anymore?
  • doh123doh123 Posts: 323member
    I downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview, since anyone can... and installed it in VMWare Fusion.... I find it truly and utterly horrid.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So what happens with this thing? Given that the design is even more like the iPad than the Galaxy Tab's?



    One button. Circular. With a logo on it.



    I MEAN, COME ON.



    Does Son Samsung think that if he sidles up to Daddy Microsoft that the big, mean Apple Bully won't pick on him anymore?



    They'll be fine... it's got a cooling fan.
  • ahrubikahrubik Posts: 80member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    So what happens with this thing? Given that the design is even more like the iPad than the Galaxy Tab's?



    One button. Circular. With a logo on it.



    I MEAN, COME ON.



    Does Son Samsung think that if he sidles up to Daddy Microsoft that the big, mean Apple Bully won't pick on him anymore?



    Are you kidding me? Microsoft was doing tablet form factor PCs years before the iPad was a thought. There is nothing remotely similar to an iPad here.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,280member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    They'll be fine... it's got a cooling fan.



    Really?



    *checks*







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post


    There is nothing remotely similar to an iPad here.



  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 741member
    I understand an Apple site needs to spin this to give Apple a positive look, and in regards to Samsung, this is just getting shameless. But OTOH, having been running this developer preview (admittedly only for a couple hours), I absolutely love it. We'll see after a couple weeks when the new OS smell wears off, but it is faster than Win7 was on the same machine. I've installed iTunes, Flash, Office 2010, Java, Chrome, and Eclipse (Java dev tool), and everything has been running flawlessly. For a "pre-beta", I am absolutely floored. I can't believe I'm saying this, but so far so good Microsoft!
  • jonrojonro Posts: 42member
    The most important question is how good is the Windows 8 software experience and can Windows 8 be ported to ARM? Microsoft can always find another company to provide better hardware. A tablet with a fan does sound lame.
  • bwinskibwinski Posts: 156member
    So, let's do a flash forward... It's now October 1, 2015 and developers from all over the world are coming together for the monster 'Build' conference where Redmond is about to un-leash the first working version of Winders 88. Apple is about to release iPhone X as a milestone for achievement of IOS along with iPad 8. Microshaft revenue from ALL it's products is now about $60 billion a year... Flat... And Apple's is $ 500 billion... Up 62% from last year.... Oh, and their software still actually works.
  • majjomajjo Posts: 574member
    Keep in mind that that samsung tablet is equipped with a core i5, so I'm not surprised that it has a cooling fan.



    Based on the video, win8 actually looks like a nicely done tablet OS. I just hope it translates well back onto the desktop.
  • alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    this is an alpha release, so it is a long way from a finished product. but the basic idea is clear: it's a kitchen sink mess with pretty colors.



    MS didn't get the memo (or Ballmer can't read): the digital future is about simplifying our lives, not making them more complicated.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    I understand an Apple site needs to spin this to give Apple a positive look, and in regards to Samsung, this is just getting shameless. But OTOH, having been running this developer preview (admittedly only for a couple hours), I absolutely love it. We'll see after a couple weeks when the new OS smell wears off, but it is faster than Win7 was on the same machine. I've installed iTunes, Flash, Office 2010, Java, Chrome, and Eclipse (Java dev tool), and everything has been running flawlessly. For a "pre-beta", I am absolutely floored. I can't believe I'm saying this, but so far so good Microsoft!



    I'm not a big MS fan by any means but I'd put my money on this 50 to 1 horse. I've said it a few times before... Google doesn't have to worry about Apple... it has to worry about MS. jmho
  • oh...a Core i5 requires active cooling in a tablet. Guess what? It requires active cooling in a desktop, too.



    The funny things is...this is just a developer platform...much like those G5 PowerMac were development platforms for the Xbox 360.
  • dhingeddhinged Posts: 4member
    This looks like a great idea for a tablet or a tablet-as-a-pc-replacement but a stand-alone desktop? Terrible. The interface was not designed for a mouse and will be more difficult to use with a mouse.
  • crimguycrimguy Posts: 107member
    Dvorak was right. It looks like a kiosk in a shopping mall.
  • majjomajjo Posts: 574member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dhinged View Post


    This looks like a great idea for a tablet or a tablet-as-a-pc-replacement but a stand-alone desktop? Terrible. The interface was not designed for a mouse and will be more difficult to use with a mouse.



    actually, i was just watching the anandtech video where they used the UI with a standard mouse and keyboard. It doesn't look bad at all:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxJQo...layer_embedded
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,080member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doh123 View Post


    I downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview, since anyone can... and installed it in VMWare Fusion.... I find it truly and utterly horrid.



    This I've got to see...
  • Cool! A laptop without a hinge between the keyboard and screen.



    Rule 1 when demoing a touch-screen interface... use the touch-screen interface...
  • jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,268member
    A cooling fan on a tablet??? That nonsense aside, having full Windows available on a tablet in addition to a touch interface sounds like something the Windows community would love. I could see a Windows 8 tablet doing well if they can sell it for less than $500 and include a final version of the touch interface that doesn't suck. Microsoft clearly jumped the gun by demoing it pre-beta. That's the difference between Apple and everyone else: Apple first shows a product when the hardware and software are mostly polished. Other companies, like MS and Samsung, demo products that still look like crap because they are desperate for attention. Which of course backfires.
  • kkerstkkerst Posts: 316member
    Every demo I've seen looks like a disaster.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,080member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by majjo View Post


    actually, i was just watching the anandtech video where they used the UI with a standard mouse and keyboard. It doesn't look bad at all:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxJQo...layer_embedded



    Use a standard mouse and keyboard with a Windows tablet and it "doesn't look bad."

    It's a miracle tablet.
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