Microsoft To Launch Slate PC Ahead Of Apple?

Published report indicates software maker plans to introduce Windows-powered tablet device at CES.



Looking to trump Apple, Microsoft will unveil a slate-style computer Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show, according to a published report.




Windows 7 screen shot
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The software maker has partnered with Hewlett-Packard on the device, and CEO Steve Ballmer will personally show off the new product during a keynote at the Las Vegas tech fest, according to The New York Times.

The device will feature a touch-screen interface and e-reader capabilities, the report said.

Few other technical details were available, but presumably the unit will be powered by Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system, which features built-in support for touch screen computing.

It wouldn't be Microsoft's first foray into the slate market. The company launched a Tablet PC version of Windows XP in 2002, but it failed to catch on.

Microsoft has not officially confirmed the Times' report, and investors largely shrugged at the news. Microsoft shares were up .16%, to $31.01, in early trading Wednesday on the NASDAQ.

Still, the move would allow Microsoft to recapture some tech industry buzz, which in recent weeks has been monopolized by rivals Apple and Google.

Apple is expected to launch a tablet-style device, possibly called the iSlate, later this month. The computer has been described by some insiders as, essentially, an oversized iPod. Its presence could eat into Microsoft's share of the growing market for ultra-portable netbooks.

Google, meanwhile, set tongues wagging on Tuesday with its introduction of the Android OS-based Nexus One phone. Google, in a sign of its growing ambition, also launched a direct sales channel through which it will hawk the phones over the Internet.

The Nexus One phone will be offered by T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless in the United States.

For Further Reading

iSlate, Nexus One Kill Microsoft's 15 Minutes;

Apple Reminds Google Who's Winning;

Site Claims To Have Full Apple 'iSlate' Specs;

Apple Tablet Success Riding On Touch-Panel Patents;

Apple iSlate Chatter Obscures Device Significance.

Application mobilization tools are both more effective and more confusing than ever. To develop this report, InformationWeek Analytics polled nearly 700 business technology professionals and interviewed mobile application experts. Download the report here (registration required).

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