We had previously reported that Microsoft would debut a reference Samsung tablet design for its Windows 8 tablet at the BUILD conference slated to kick off this week, and now we’re hearing that those tablets, which may be distributed alongside beta copies of Windows 8 to developers in attendance, will be arriving with Intel chipsets. Though Windows 8 will support ARM chipsets for the first time outside of the x86 chips made by AMD and Intel, the Samsung prototypes and reference design at BUILD will initially be shown with Intel chips.
According to CNET, it’s still unclear if Microsoft will show off any ARM-based tablets at the BUILD conference in Anaheim, California and it’s a bit surprising that the first developer prototype will be supporting Windows’ legacy x86 architecture considering that there has been a big push towards ARM for Windows 8. In addition to Intel, Windows 8 will also support ARM chips from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and NVIDIA.
Earlier in the year, Intel had made claims ahead of Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 8 that the platform will only support legacy apps with x86 architecture and that entirely new apps and software will have to be written for ARM chips. Intel highlights the advantage of using Intel chipsets in that the more powerful x86 processor can handle both apps written for ARM and legacy apps while ARM chips, which are seen as more power-efficient, cannot handle legacy apps. Microsoft had discredited Intel’s early claims, but had not elaborated since on the subject of legacy app support though the company had demonstrated a user experience that’s been inspired from Windows Phone 7.
More recently, NVIDIA, which is an ARM chipset maker with its Tegra processors, laid bold claims in stating that Windows tablets will be able to run apps written for Windows Phone 7. At this point, it’s unclear how accurate this is as Microsoft had stated that Windows Phone is meant for phones and tablets require the full version of Windows.