Microsoft, who promised cutting edge tablets at last year’s CES but failed to deliver, is going to have another crack at trying to break into the booming tablet market with the introduction of several new tablets that run Windows 8.The new models from the likes of Dell, Toshiba and Samsung will be shown by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the 2011 CES event in Las Vegas where he will present a keynote speech.
According to sources the Windows 8 based devices from Samsung and Dell are similar to the iPad but like current Windows based tablets are significantly heavier than what Apple is delivering with the iPad. A big point of difference will be the introduction of a slide out keypad which several observers have said “destroys” the whole concept of what a tablet is all about.
“If a keyboard is included we are talking about a product that is really no different than a smart netbook especially if Windows 8, which we suspect is a new version of their phone 7 OS is being used” said an IDC analyst.
Microsoft hopes these slates will offer an alternative to the iPad because they move beyond play, people familiar with the tablets said. “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,” explained a person familiar with the company’s tablet plans.
The New York Times claimed that a person who works at Microsoft said the company was encouraging partners to build applications for these devices that use HTML5, the Web programming language. This person said the applications would not be sold in an app store, as with the Apple iTunes model, but Microsoft will encourage software partners to host the applications on their own Web sites, which will then be highlighted in a search interface on the slate computers. It is unclear if these applications will be ready for C.E.S. as most are still in production.
There have been widespread whispers that Microsoft was going to show off something more suited to slate or tablet PCs than Windows 7, and that could, apparently, be Windows 8.
It remains to be seen if the OS that Microsoft shows off is actually Windows 8 or an adapted tablet-friendly version of Windows 7 or Windows Embedded.