How do you get developers to build applications for a new tablet operating system that’s not due out until sometime on 2012? That’s the problem Microsoft has with its new look Windows 8 – and one it solved by giving 5000 developers at its BUILD conference a Samsung tablet running an early version of its software and development tools, along with a bunch of sample applications.
So what are developers getting? We’ve been playing with one of Microsoft’s Samsung tablets for the last day, and it’s a surprisingly impressive piece of kit. But don’t expect this to be a low power ARM device, or an iPad killer. Built around a bright 11.6″ screen, with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD, it’s a really a powerful Sandy Bridge Core i5 PC, running a complete suite of Microsoft’s desktop applications.
Based on the Series 7 Windows Slate, it’s been packed with sensors to give developers access to all of Windows 8’s device features. It’s light and comfortable to use – and certainly doesn’t feel as though it should be this powerful.
Booting up Windows 8 is surprisingly quick. Turn the tablet on, and you’re on the look screen, ready to start working with the new Metro user interface. Samsung’s done a great job with the tablet’s touch screen and it’s easy to slide around the Windows 8 panoramic interface. The OS also performs well – screens show quickly, and fluid animations give the still pre-beta Windows 8 a very different look-and-feel from other versions of Windows. New Metro-style apps fill the screen, while older applications open in a traditional Windows desktop.
If the future of Windows is touch, then the combination of Windows 8 and a tablet device is really compelling. The Samsung developer preview device may have Intel inside, but it’s certainly not your traditional PC – and it’s Windows 8 that really makes the difference. With low power ARM devices on the way, there’s a lot to look forward to with Windows tablets into 2012.
Author: Simon Bisson
Windows 8 Samsung Tablet: dock connector
Windows 8 Samsung Tablet: controls
Windows 8 Samsung Tablet: keyboard and dock