Microsoft yesterday proclaimed the death of the Apple iPad 2 as it unveiled the touch-sensitive features of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system with a giveaway to developers of a prototype tablet from Samsung.
But rather than taking Apple on at its own game, with a stripped-down graphical tablet interface, the company told developers at the BUILD conference in Anaheim, California, that it remained committed to its 'No compromise' policy, offering a fully-featured dual-interface system that combines the touchscreen elements of Apple's iOS and Google's Android - derived mostly from the firm's Windows Phone 7 mobile OS - with the fully-functioning Windows interface more usually seen on desktop and notebook PCs.
In a bid to kickstart development of application software for the new platform, Microsoft supplied the meeting's 5,000 attendees with a the Windows 8 Developer Preview device, co-developed with Samsung.
Although much has been made of upcoming ARM compatibility in the new version of Windows, the prototype packs in a 1.6GHz Intel i5 procesor, and boasts an 11.6-inch screen - sadly, on this prototype, not touch-sensitive - plus front and rear cameras, HDMI and USB ports, as well as microSD and SIM card slots.
Unlike mainstream tablets - and in an echo of the company's ill-fated Windows XP Professional Tablet Edition, Microsoft's new proddable PCs will come bundled with a stylus for fine detail work, a feature last seen in HTC's Android Flyer tablet.
A number of Microsoft-authored apps came preloaded on the device, together with the new Internet Explorer 10 browser - and Microsoft unveiled plans for its 'Windows Store' online app market - a feature that could become crucial to the uptake of the new OS on handheld devices.
Take a look at the new Developer Preview tablet in the video below: