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.
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. Nvidia, for example, is expected to have a quad-core chip for tablets and smartphones ready by the end of this year.
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.
Windows 8, which is a much more tablet-friendly OS than Windows 7, will run on both Intel/AMD chips and ARM. A first for a mainstream Microsoft operating system.
Microsoft and Intel declined to comment on this story. Samsung could not be reached for comment.