@RallyJoe:  Same here.  You know, there's this persistent rumor about a 7"-9" Surface RT that may ship in June...

Anyway, it makes perfect sense that they give that hardware to the developers.  The weakest point in the entire Windows Phone business is a (perceived) lack of apps compared to Apple and Android.  Give your devs free phones so they can write apps for it.  Similarly, the weakest point in the strategy for the WinRT API for "modern style" apps (former Metro) is the lack of apps.  Give all the devs free Surface RTs, and then they can write apps that run on both WinRT and Windows Phone.  It makes perfect sense, and there's not doubt that this is the reason why they get the free hardware.

However...it also makes perfect sense that MSFT should make an effort to get their software into our hands.  We TechEd attendees are the people who design, build, deliver, and support Microsoft solutions.  Ensuring that we have hands-on experience with the latest and greatest Microsoft software helps sell those products in enterprises who might otherwise look elsewhere.