During the show, Redmond also disclosed additional details about upcoming Mango smartphones, one of which is expected to boasts a front-facing camera.
However, the as yet unnamed quad-core Windows slate was probably the most interesting hardware news to come out of TechEd.
IT consultant Alan Burchill was able to get up close and personal with the enigmatic device and managed to snap a couple of pictures.
“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 in a blog post that was later removed without explanation.
It remains unclear if the prototype slate is powered by an ARM or x86-based chip, although one show attendee claimed the device runs Windows 7 – which seems to point to traditional Wintel chip architecture, as only Windows 8 is known to work with RISC-powered processors.
But other conference say the slate featured a RISC-based chip.
“Most of the next generation of tablets using Qualcomm and Nvidia ARM processors are quad-core,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.
“So we’ll see this broadly in a few months… [Yes], it [was] supposed to start beta in a few weeks – [though] It looks like they are shooting to release it mid next year.”
And as ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley notes, Microsoft Enterprise Technology Architect Patrick Hevesi has already confirmed that a number of quad-core Windows slates remain on track to arrive later this year.
The devices will boast some fairly impressive specs typically associated with ARM chips, such as eight hours of battery life, a 10-inch HD screen and 1080p playback.
“Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments execs have all talked up their [upcoming ARM-based] quad-core chips, and said that tablets powered by these processors could be in the market before the end of this year,” Foley added.