Microsoft Teases Quad-Core Tablet, Windows 8 Could Be Inside

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Specs aren’t everything, but Microsoft has our attention after teasing a quad-core tablet at its Tech Ed conference in New Zealand, especially because this beastly slate might run Windows 8.

Microsoft didn’t say much about the hardware at the conference, Smarter Geek reports. Jeff Johnson, the company’s enterprise strategist, merely flashed a thin slab before his audience’s eyes, and then moved on to other devices, including a larger tablet with a removable battery. But Joanna Stern of This is My Next reports that the quad-core tablet is most likely a Windows 8 machine, and that Microsoft will reveal more details at its BUILD developers conference next month.

(MORE: Windows 8’s Look and Feel: It’s New. New, New, New, New, New!)

It all seems rather plausible. Windows 8 is definitely on the agenda for BUILD, and Nvidia’s Kal-El quad-core processor for phones and tablets was scheduled for production this month. As Stern notes, Intel doesn’t make any quad-core x86 chips with the kind of low voltage that tablets need. And Windows 8 is the only version of Microsoft’s PC operating system that supports the ARM architecture used by Nvidia. Microsoft has ruled out tablets based on Windows Phone, as Electronista has noted, so there’s really no other possibility than Windows 8 for this mystery device.

Now all we need is to see it in operation. As you’ll recall, Microsoft is building Windows 8 with touch screens in mind. The OS will include a touch-optimized layer with unique features like the ability to run two apps side-by-side. Behind that layer will be a familiar mouse-and-keyboard-lovin’ version of Windows, with a lesser degree of touch friendliness.

I’ll be at the BUILD conference in September, covering for Techland, so stay tuned.

MORE: Why Apple Enthusiasts Are Wrong About Windows 8