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Microsoft Previews Slate PC At CES

Tablet-style computer is designed to take on Apple in the portable market.

The tech industry has been abuzz of late with the launch of Google's new Android-based Nexus One phone and the prospect of the forthcoming Apple "iSlate." But Microsoft stole back some thunder Wednesday with the introduction of a tablet-style computer—still unnamed--that challenges its rivals on a number of fronts.




Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

"It's a beautiful little product," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking during a keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"We're talking about something that's almost as portable as a phone and that's as powerful as a PC running Windows 7," said Ballmer.

Ballmer's remarks come at a time when Microsoft is struggling to keep up with Google's Android OS and Apple's iSlate. The latter is expected to be launched later this month.

Along with the tablet PC, Microsoft plans to give corporate customers the option to use its Web-based Office 2010 offering on their own servers in order to give them more control over their IT environment.

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft for the first time spoke openly about plans to commercialize Natal, a video gaming technology that's governed by a motion-sensing controller for the Xbox 360 console. Natal is built to react instantaneously to users' body movements.

Microsoft's hardware partner, HP, has been mostly tight-lipped about the launch of a slate PC.

The HP TouchSmart 2 incorporates "intuitive touch technology" that makes "everything you do easier and more fun," according to the PC maker, which did not elaborate on pricing.

Microsoft shares were down .16%, to $30.77, on NASDAQ trading Wednesday.


InformationWeek has published an indepth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

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