Developers receive Windows 8 tablets; Windows 8 DP build coming

As the Intel Developer Forum chugs along in San Francisco, Microsoft is hosting the Build developer conference in Anaheim, a few hundred miles south. The software giant is actually broadcasting its keynote live on the Build website right now. Some notable developments have already come out of the event, though.

For one, Microsoft has, as rumored, previewed a Samsung tablet running Windows 8. Neowin reports that the 11.6″ device has a 1366×768 display, a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor from Intel, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 64GB solid-state drive, and both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. A wireless Bluetooth keyboard is also included. The device reportedly weighs 2 lbs and measures about half an inch in thickness. Its front surface is smooth except for a circular button bearing the Windows logo. (Check out Neowin’s gallery for images.)

Clearly, this device is quite different from the ultra-light, ARM-based tablets we’ve grown used to. Engadget points out that Microsoft will be giving away 5,000 of these units to developers at the show, so this might be more of a development platform engineered for brawn than a representative sample of future Windows 8 tablets. Windows 8, after all, will support ARM processors. Besides, I’d expect Win8 tablet makers who side with x86 to use Atom processors—reaching sufficiently low price points, weights, and battery run times could be difficult with full-featured Intel Core CPUs.

Windows 8’s Start screen in the Metro interface. Source: Microsoft.See our image gallery below for more screenshots.

In addition to the tablets, Microsoft says it plans to release a Windows 8 Developer Preview build later tonight on its new Windows Dev Center website. The pre-release operating system will be available in three variants: “a 64-bit (x64) build with development tools to build apps and a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) build without development tools.” Sample applications will be included, as well. Why no ARM release? Here’s the explanation from Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky:

Many are interested in Windows 8 for ARM processors. Everything we showcased today at BUILD also runs on the ARM-based Windows PCs being created by ARM partners and PC manufacturers. Windows 8 running on ARM will ultimately be available with ARM-based hardware that you can purchase. ARM requires a deeper level of integrated engineering between hardware and software, as each ARM device is unique, and Windows allows this uniqueness to shine through. The new development tools enable you to start today to build Metro style applications that will seamlessly run on x86 (32 and 64 bit) or ARM architectures. Even if you use native C/C++ code, these tools will enable Metro style apps to target specific hardware if you choose. As new PCs become available for testing, PC manufacturers will develop seed programs for developers.

In other words, it sounds like the hardware isn’t quite ready yet, but Metro applications written for Windows 8 should be portable to the ARM architecture.

The guys at Engadget have nabbed a diagram from the keynote that sheds some light about how Metro applications fit in the grand scheme of things. Programmers will be able to code up Metro apps using JavaScript and CSS, just as Microsoft announced some time ago, but C, C++, C#, and Visual Basic will all be supported, too. Not surprisingly, Metro apps will rely on different application programming interfaces, or APIs, than their Win32 counterparts.

Consumers will have access to third-party Windows 8 software through a Windows app store—which, as Neowin points out, will be conveniently linked right on the Metro Start screen. Just as with Apple’s App Store, software will be subject to an approval process meant to weed out security flaws and compliance issues. Neowin says the approval process will involve six steps and take about 18 hours in total.

Comments closed
    • judoMan
    • 8 years ago

    The Win8 Developer Previews are now available here: [url<]http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516[/url<]

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    If there is an off switch, I am cool with this.

    • Xenolith
    • 8 years ago

    Some confusion out there. You can still use the classic win 7 style start screen with Win 8 if you wish on your desktop. Not a good option on tablets.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    I’d like to know why they like to make a looooong horizontal window scrolless instead of a vertical windows with scroll, or even better me thinks, keep it as is but divide it into multiple windows and have the page numbers at the bottom so you can browse between windows and a “<” “>” signs or something to manually browse from one to another. It’s nice to have options and looks more professional than a incomplete image (i’m reffering here to the main picture in the article).

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    cant wait to put this on my $99 touchpad, lol!

    • Neutronbeam
    • 8 years ago

    Any of the tablets up on eBay yet? You can see one here [url<]http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/first_look_samsung_windows_8_dev_tablet#slide-7[/url<]

    • axeman
    • 8 years ago

    Oh hai! We thought you might like Windows Phone 7 on your PC!

    • yuriylsh
    • 8 years ago

    I’m actually at the conference right now and will have my hands on the device this evening. If none of the TR staff attending the conference and won’t be able to get the tablet, but you would like to review it, I can give mine for a week or so for reviewing purposes. Since I’m from Kansas City metro area, I can hand it to Scott since he’s there as well. If you are interested Scott, just PM me and we can discuss where to meet(after I come back home at the end of the week).

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 8 years ago

    Why am I thinking that [url<]https://techreport.com/gallery/index.x?id=21631&image=52753[/url<] looks so much like Windows Media Centre from W7 - Only it's not and the whole dammmed OS looks like it. Excuse me while I go puke....

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Honestly, guys, we can wait the extra 5 minutes while you proof-read it…

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      I need an extra 5 to go puke myself, due to the UI.

      While it may work for windows mobile as a nice idea to a point, how far do they want to go with hiding system files, folders, etc? It doesn’t even work well for windows mobile aka phones nobody wants. It’s pretty much the opposite of user-friendly by definition. It’s “you have access in a way we define and intentionally restrict, which may or may not suck”. One of the best things windows *could* have done is make things easier to access, especially system files.

      If they had done this right, both the phones and the (tablet) OS would have gone live at the same time with the same OS. Now it’s “We went from a decent interface to a windows ME equivalent failure”

        • Myrmecophagavir
        • 8 years ago

        Why do you say they’re hiding system files, etc.? Why would a simple tablet interface need easier access to “especially system files”?

        You know you can just switch to the normal desktop, right? Haven’t you seen the videos on the Windows 8 blog?

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t have the same hate response to the UI pictured above but I do indeed think its disorienting. I have ho sense of orientation or hierarchy.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          do you have sense with iOS? what about android? this is a launcher. that’s all. if you want old style windows, it’s there. this is a pretty launcher, and imo it’s the prettiest launcher of the touchscreen os’s

            • RobbyBob
            • 8 years ago

            But you can cut yourself on those sharp corners!

            • designerfx
            • 8 years ago

            prettiest of your imagination maybe. the UI is just bleh.

            • FuturePastNow
            • 8 years ago

            [i<]"if you want old style windows, it's there"[/i<] No, it's not. The Explorer shell is [i<]gone[/i<]. The Start Menu is [i<]gone[/i<]. The Control Panel is [i<]gone[/i<]. You cannot boot to the desktop. The desktop goes away when you do anything that uses Metro, which is almost everything.

            • GTVic
            • 8 years ago

            Here you go, you can even type DOS commands on this one. The point is to take the complexity out of Windows, not turn a PC into a tablet.

            [url<]http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos/Compaq_Portable386_Running_s1.jpg[/url<]

            • FuturePastNow
            • 8 years ago

            I’m not an eight year old, I don’t need an even simpler OS.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            i’m pretty sure you can. they’ve said both ui’s run independently as applications, and which ever one you want to play in, you can.

            • FuturePastNow
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t dispute that you can get to the desktop. Win+D, and it’s there. But any time you try to do anything that is coded for Metro, and that includes almost every other part of the OS, the desktop is gone and the touch UI comes in fullscreen.

            When I hit the Start button and start typing to search for something, I don’t need a fullscreen search box covering up everything. I don’t need my private browser window with the porn site open to be turned into a four-inch-wide live tile on the Start screen. Just because I want to look at something in the Control Panel, doesn’t mean I want to be taken out of the desktop where I have many apps open. I don’t want to ever see this stupid Metro UI of theirs, ever, whether it’s at boot or any other time.

            You know what I like about Windows 7? Apart from a couple of folder preferences, I don’t have to tweak [i<]anything[/i<] to happily use it. No annoyances, right out of the box. I had to tweak the heck out of the Windows XP UI to get something I was happy with. I guess it's back to major tweaking, when Microsoft inevitably backs down from its "you can't turn Metro off" stance and provides a 'classic' mode for everything.

            • travbrad
            • 8 years ago

            Being the prettiest touchscreen OS doesn’t help the hundreds of millions of PCs which don’t have a touchscreen, and even if they got one it would be annoying to use due to gorilla arm.

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