"A Samsung tablet expected to be shown at a Microsoft conference next week will be powered by an Intel chip, according to a source familiar with the device.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 currently on the market runs the Android operating system and uses an Nvidia processor.
Windows chief Steven Sinofsky is expected shows off an early version of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system running on a tablet from Samsung at the BUILD developers conference next week in Anaheim, Calif.
At least one version of the tablet being shown--and possibly distributed to some attendees--will be based on Intel silicon, said an industry source who is familiar with the device.
The fact that Intel is inside could be viewed as a surprise because many Windows 8 tablets are expected to favor competing ARM processors from suppliers like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia--the latter is the same supplier whose chips currently power Motorola, Samsung, and Sony tablets that run Google's Android operating system.
It is not clear if other Windows 8 tablets will be shown at the conference running on ARM processors.
Generally, ARM processors are more power efficient than Intel processors, thus their wide use in tablets and smartphones. But Intel is working to close the power efficiency gap. Power efficient versions of its Sandy Bridge Core i series chips will power "Ultrabook" laptops as thin as 0.6 inches--not unlike a tablet's thickness--and Intel continues to accelerate development of Atom processors, which are already relatively power efficient."
I know the ARM fans will say "But, but, it's not even using the new 22nm Atom processor. It's going to have a short battery life."
But you know what really looks bad for ARM? This is a vote of confidence from Microsoft and it didn't work out for them. At this conference they are giving away these tablets to Software and Hardware developers. It's the Galaxy Tab, with an Intel processor. It's supposed to give a glimpse into the future of Windows. And they could have just as easily selected ARM.
I think this means one of two things. The first is that the code on the Windows end for ARM just isn't ready. There may be driver issues or some other issues which the casual user wouldn't notice as much as a hardware or software developer. I still don't think it's in Microsoft's best interest to launch Windows 8 or ARM. They should name it something else like Windows Lite or Windows ME2 (sorry, couldn't resist).
The second thing issue is that Microsoft made the announcement that Windows 8 would run on ARM well over a year ago. In the meantime ARM has had the tablet market nearly exclusively to themselves. And with the exception of the IPad it's gone nowhere. HP gave up on WebOS, and Motorola sold out. Even the tens of thousands of apps and the market leadership of Android wasn't enough to drive consumer demand for Android tablets.
I think the dream was that they would inspire software developers at Build to write apps for this new platform and tablets would be sold for app hungry consumers. Now I believe that they are seeing that apps don't sell tablets and they need to move the platform more toward the PC side if they are going to get traction. There have been too many platforms using ARM that haven't taken off, and Microsoft now is hedging it's bet.