Consumer Electronics Show to Debut New Win7 Tablet PCs

Dennis Faas's picture

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held every January is arguably the biggest showcase of the year for mainstream tech products. Next month's CES showcase is scheduled for Las Vegas, and it's rumored that Microsoft's CEO will be unveiling new Windows 7 tablet PCs as part of his keynote address.

Most interesting is that Microsoft won't be producing any of the tablet hardware, but instead is expected to endorse those made by third-party companies.

Slide-Out Keyboard Feature in One Windows 7 Tablet Model

According to the New York Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will display forthcoming devices from Samsung and Dell. Samsung's product is apparently a thicker version of the Apple's iPad that will include a slide-out keyboard, in contrast to the-onscreen keypad used with the iPad. (Source:

Rather strange, however, is the fact that the Samsung device is said to run Windows 7 when held in landscape mode, but switches to a special user interface when the device is held in portrait mode with the keyboard hidden away.

Reports from the Times and other sources suggest many of the Windows tablet devices set for 2011 will be aimed largely at the business community, with more emphasis on productivity tools such as the Microsoft Office software suite.

Windows 7 Tablet Pricing Difficulties Could Hurt Sales

There is already one device that firmly fits the bill: the HP Slate 500, which offers several features not present on the iPad, such as USB connections, removable memory cards, and two cameras allowing both snapshots and video conferencing.

The device is rumored to cost around $800, however, which means it's both too expensive to be a direct iPad rival, and so costly that business users may decide to simply get a laptop or netbook instead.

There are also serious questions about whether Windows 7, despite being available in special editions that are relatively undemanding for hardware, is really suited for use with a touchscreen interface. Chances are that Microsoft will put added emphasis on such features in Windows 8, but just as with the much-delayed Windows Phone 7 system on smartphones, that may come too late to make the most of a booming market. (Source:

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