Rumours abound of new Microsoft slate products

by PYB James | Dec 01, 2010

Rumours are circling in tech communities that Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is set to unveil a range of new tablet-like ‘slate’ computers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas early in 2010. The devices would be intended to compete with the Apple iPad.

Microsoft have not commented publically about this possible unveiling of new hardware but the U.S. software giant have long had an interest in slate devices, having initially launched a range of such computers ten years ago. Perhaps too far ahead of their time with that initial slate push under former boss and founder Bill Gates, Microsoft could now be set to benefit from the interest in tablets raised this year by the iPad.

Whilst iPads are aimed mainly at consumers and are driven by game play and consumption of media, the new Microsoft ‘slates’ could be aimed towards a more business focussed target market and would presumably incorporate easy use of Microsoft’s ubiquitous software stable of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The rumoured Windows-based slate computers have supposedly been manufactured by the likes of Samsung and Dell, amongst other partners, though it is not known if the respective parties would all be 100% ready for the January showcase event in Vegas.

The Samsung device was described by a New York times blogger, who would not name his sources, as being “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”

It is also unclear at this stage whether a new range of slate devices would run Windows 7, Windows Phone 7 or potentially even the forthcoming Windows 8. What is more obvious though is that Microsoft want to enter a space which is becoming increasingly dominated by the iPad and the growing presence of mobile operating systems such as Android.

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