Microsoft to show off a slew of tablets at CES

Who knew that the collective noun for a group of tablets was a "slew"?

Not us, but that's the word that The New York Times has gone with when it describes just how many slate devices Microsoft will be showing off at CES in January.

The report quotes a number of people "familiar with Microsoft's plans" and indicates that Mr Excitable himself, Steve Ballmer, will take to the stage to demo Windows devices from the likes of Dell and Samsung.

There's even a suggestion that the shiny headed CEO will give us a sneak peak of some devices running Windows 8. Oooooh (that right there is genuine intrigue people).

The new tablet-like devices are said to have the iPad in their sights, although with an extended reach.

"The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work”. said a NYT source.

The Samsung one is described as being "similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing".

Now we've heard rumours about a slider QWERTY Samsung slate before, but it has so far been mentioned in the same breath as Android. Could it be that it will be making the jump to the good ship Windows?

The devices are said to run Windows 7 in landscape mode, but with a new "layered-interface" when you swivel the machine into portrait. Oooooh - again, genuine intrigue.

Windows tablets are often talked up and Ballmer even promised himself that we'd see some before Christmas. But, so far, the only big player to come to the market with one is HP with the business-aimed Slate 500, although we have also seen efforts from the likes of ViewSonic and Tega.

Could CES 2011 really be the big launch pad for mainstream Windows tablets?

We hope so, because with rumours of the iPad 2 heating up, and Honeycomb bringing Android into a more comfortable tablet space, next year could be an exciting one in the tablet market.



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