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Microsoft Gives Windows 8 Tablets to Build Attendees

Microsoft gave out 5,000 Windows 8 tablets to Build attendees on Tuesday.

Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live Division, and Michael Angiulo, corporate vice president of Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem, unveiled the Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC during Tuesday's keynote.

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Windows 8 Metro Start screen running on Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC.

"It's a machine for developers," Sinofsky said. "It's a real way to experience the preview of Windows 8 on hardware that's preview, as well."

The device will not be available for sale to the general public. It can work as both a consumer and developer machine; users can write code with it, and app usage and general functionality remains intact.

The device can be used as a touchscreen tablet or with a stylus. It features an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display; an Intel Core i5 processor; 64GB of SSD storage; 4GB of DDR3 memory; and, according to Microsoft, is a "full-on x86 PC." At two pounds, the tablet is quite a bit heavier than the competing iPad 2, which weighs 1.33 lbs. However, as with all the specs given, this is not an indication of future consumer models.

The device has been designed to function as both a tablet and traditional PC -- a Bluetooth keyboard was included and the device supports a mouse connection. It also supports a dual-monitor hookup via an HDMI-out port.

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The Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC, coupled with a mouse and keyboard, provides users with a desktop layout.

Those developers lucky enough to be leaving Build with the device will also be supplied with a full year of AT&T 3G connectivity, and can also connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

As for the software included, each device will come preloaded with a "Windows Developer Preview" version of Windows 8, which marks the first time anybody outside Microsoft's development team has been hands-on with the OS.

It also comes loaded with a handful of test apps created in 10 weeks by college students. The applications range from games to productivity apps, and include a tool that will transfer handwritten notes taken with the stylus into a text document.

On the development side, the device comes loaded with "developer preview" builds of Visual Studio 11 Express and Microsoft Expression Blend 5, and contains a full Windows App Certification Kit program so that the community can start creating and testing Windows 8 applications immediately.

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Visual Studio 11 Express running on Build's Windows 8 tablet handout.

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Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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