Judging by the latest from the rumor mill, Windows 8 won't be out for another year or so. If this story by AFP is to be believed, then, Microsoft is getting things into gear early as far as Windows 8's tablet implementation goes.
The story, which quotes an "industry source" cited by the Korea Economic Daily, says that Microsoft and Samsung have partnered up on the very first Windows 8 tablet, and they're getting ready to show the fruit of their labors at the BUILD developer conference next week. The conference is taking place in Anaheim, California between September 13 and 16.
"This new product manufactured by Samsung will be the company's first collaboration with Microsoft in its hardware devices," said the industry source. Since Samsung already has Windows 7 smartphones in its repertoire—see the Focus—that comment tells us Microsoft might be playing a more active part in the development of the upcoming tablet. That's not too surprising if we're talking about a reference platform.
Samsung has caught a ton of legal flak from Apple lately for allegedly copycatting its products, so it'll be interesting to see how the first Windows 8 tablet differentiates itself from the iPad 2. At least on the software side, Microsoft has a pretty unique and elegant interface—one that I've been cautiously excited about since the first public demo. The question is, will the hardware be equally compelling?