When it comes to the operating systems that will power tablet computing, it's still anyone's game.
Today, there are reports that Asus has dumped Microsoft's Windows in favor of Google's Android OS for its Eee pad tablet, which could be out by early next year sometime. Apple, of course, is in the game with its own OS for the iPad. And now that HP has acquired Palm, it's likely that it will choose to develop around WebOS.
Microsoft, of course, previously killed the Courier tablet it was working on and said there are currently no plans to develop such a product. Still, even without its own product, Microsoft could be a tablet player on the software side - but the excitement is around Android. The Dell Streak, for example, is a small slate tablet that is powered by Android.
A Wired blog post sums up nicely why Android may become the next de facto operating system for tablets:
Android is likely to be the OS of choice amongst tablet-makers (apart from HP, with its newly acquired webOS and Apple, of course). It’s free, it is designed for mobile devices and above all it doesn’t have to fight against an incumbent Windows market. One of the problems with the first wave of Linux netbooks was their lack of familiarity: people buying cheap computers were used to Windows. This problem doesn’t yet exist with tablets, so Android may in fact become the next Windows.