Why I'm covering the Windows 8 reveal from my iPad

Two words explain it all: battery life

Tomorrow, Microsoft will treat hundreds of reporters, analysts, and developers to a nearly all-day session on Windows 8, revealing (we hope) its desktop and mobile capabilities in glorious detail. (For a sneak peek at some of its news features, check out Ted Samson's slideshow "Windows 8: A visual tour of what we now know.")

Microsoft has told us to plan for a 3.5-hour initial session followed by lunch and a 4-hour session. In a conference hall with no power outlets. And there won't be enough time to go back to the hotel to do a recharge during the lunch break.

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So when I do my live coverage and analysis of Windows 8 tomorrow (link not active until then!), I'll be doing so from my iPad. It typically runs for about 10 hours before needing a recharge, though if the Wi-Fi network is weak or there's only 2.5G coverage, rather than 3G, that can plummet to as little as 6 hours. Still, there's no way my MacBook Pro will last the whole day. It might have enough juice to go the first session, depending again on the radio issues, but it wouldn't last the whole day. No laptop I know of would -- Mac or PC.

Given the notoriously bad radio coverage at such events (why do so many hotels and conference facilities usually misconfigure their Wi-Fi and lack in-building 3G signals, anyhow?), I will bring an Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in case my iPad's battery doesn't last the full day. The reason I'm not using it instead of the iPad is that its browser doesn't play as well as the iPad's Safari does with the AJAX controls in our Web-based content management system. But if my iPad's battery is dead for the last hour or so, I'll be able to at least email text to my editors back at the office from the Galaxy Tab, even if I won't be able to reliably work live in the CMS.

I thought about bringing a Chromebook, but I'm not so certain that its battery will last the whole day. Plus, there are weird issues with their trackpads and the Chrome OS browser that makes it very easily to accidentally initiate the Back button in the browser, which risks losing all the unsaved work in my current session. That happened the last time I tried using a Chromebook to cover an event live, and I lost precious time in the process. In addition, two tablets weigh less than even one Chromebook.

My real question is, "Do I also bring a Bluetooth keyboard?" Its batteries last for weeks, but when you're sitting in a metal folding chair, which is what they give us media schlubs, it's hard enough to balance a computer or tablet on your lap and type away. I'm not clear how I'd arrange both the keyboard and the tablet in such a space, much less in a way that I could still use gestures to navigate the various fields and tap the different buttons and controls. Given how lightweight such a keyboard is, though, I may try it out for the sake of science.

This article, "Why I'm covering the Windows 8 reveal from my iPad," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.