Report: Microsoft shows off quad-core Windows slate. Could this be its Build give-away?

Microsoft officials showed off some new devices at this week's Tech Ed New Zealand show -- none more potentially interesting than an unnamed quad-core Windows slate. Could this be its give-away for the upcoming Build conference?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

There have been some interesting tidbits coming out of the Microsoft Tech Ed New Zealand show this week, including information on a couple of new "Mango" phones in the works. (One of which, in engineering prototype stage, reportedly sports the front-facing camera that Microsoft officials have acknowledged will be available on some Mango phones.)

Microsoft officials apparently showed off a new quad-core Windows slate in the works, according to a report by Alan Burchill, an IT consultant, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and attendee of the Tech Ed show.

Burchill postd a blog entry and a couple of photos showing a demonstration by Microsoft speakers of an unnamed quad-core slate.

"What is very interesting is that device was a 'Quad Core Windows Slate that will be give(n) out at an upcoming Microsoft Event'… Hmmm…" Burchill wrote.

Update: Since I posted, Burchill has removed this quote from his post, with no word as to why....

Microsoft, unsurprisingly, has said nothing about any give-away plans at its upcoming Build Conference. Officials haven't even confirmed that attendees will get the Windows 8 bits (either in developer preview or beta form). But most Microsoft watchers are expecting Microsoft to provide paying attendees with a test build of Windows 8, and maybe some kind of PC or slate prototype to use to develop applications for the coming operating system.

Another attendee of the Tech Ed New Zealand session where the aforementioned Windows slate  was shown told me the device shown was running Windows 7. He said he didn't hear any promises during the session about Microsoft giving out these devices at Build. Instead, he said that he believed Microsoft is planning to unveil and showcase this slate device at the Build conference. (If they do that, I'd expect they'd tout the device as Windows 8-ready.)

I asked a spokesperson with Microsoft's Windows client team to confirm or deny Burchill's report that this quad-core Windows slate will be a Build give-away and was told the company had no comment on any part of his report.

A video of the session Burchill covered is not yet publicly available. But an earlier clip (taped before the session) with one of the speakers is available. In that clip, Microsoft Enterprise Technology Architect Patrick Hevesi  noted that there are quad-core Windows slates coming later this year that will offer eight hours of battery life, a 10-inch HD screen and 1080p playback. (That sounds suspiciously like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer -- expected to ship with Windows 8 in 2012 -- doesn't it?)

Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments execs have all talked up their coming quad-core chips, and said that tablets powered by these processors could be in the market before the end of this year.

In related news, Microsoft also showed off its coming Lync communications client at TechEd New Zealand. Microsoft officials said earlier this year to expect the Lync client for Windows Phone to be out in the "Mango timeframe." Officials demonstrated it running on Windows Phone Mango during the show. Versions of the Lync client are in the works for the other major smartphone platforms, as well.

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