Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase "slate" PCs at CES

Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase "slate" PCs at CES

Summary: Microsoft CEO is expected to use his CES keynote to showcase upcoming "slate" PCs - again.

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Credit: CNET

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will take the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month to showcase some slate computers (aka tablets) that will promise to wow the geeks who gather for the annual granddaddy of all technology conferences.

That was the headline around this time last year and, of course, we're still waiting for this world-changing tablet PC from Microsoft to surface. Granted, some tablet PCs have been launched since Ballmer held up that HP Slate device from the stage 11 months ago. Only it was Apple that set the bar for tablet computing with its April launch of the iPad back in April. And let's not forget the arrival of the first tablets running Google's Android mobile operating system that are starting to surface.

But Microsoft? We're still waiting.

Microsoft as the modern day Titanic; we all know how that ends

Despite that, the New York Times, citing "people familiar with Microsoft's plans," is reporting that Balmmer will use the CES keynote stage - again - to present "a slew of new slates" that will apparently give Apple's iPad a run for its money. The report says that Ballmer will showcase slates built by partners Samsung and Dell, as well as others.

Not that any of this is confirmed (or that anyone should believe that these products will actually ever surface) but here's what the NYT is reporting:

  • The Samsung device is described as “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”
  • It will run Windows 7 when in landscape mode, but will also have a layered interface that will appear when the keyboard is hidden and the device is held in a portrait mode.
  • The company believes the workhorse side of the devices will differentiate them from the iPad. An unnamed person is quoted as saying, "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."
  • The company is encouraging partners to build HTML5 apps, which will not be sold in an app store but instead will be hosted by the partners on their own web sites, which will be highlighted in a search interface on the slates.
  • No one seems to know if any of these apps would be ready in time for CES.
  • Ballmer "might" demonstrate products running the next Microsoft OS, called Windows 8 - which isn't expected until 2012.

Previous coverage: Ballmer lands keynote at CES 2011 but can he make it to January?

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets

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28 comments
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  • I don't think we'll be seeing Windows 8 just yet

    Too early in the game. But don't get me wrong, I sit here eagerly awaiting news on what it will bring, and what the supposed "Wind" UI will look like. <br><br>Oh and before Donnie gets here, no Windows 7 won't cause devices to get as hot as the sun, no Windows 7 hasn't been shoehorned onto a tablet, no it won't make devices as heavy as an anvil, blah, blah, blah...

    And my personal take: Having a full OS run on a tablet is a good idea, I like it a lot as compared with iOS, I just think that Microsoft needs a dedicated, slimmed down version of Windows (IE no Sidebar, Media Center, etc..) to put on it.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Having a &quot;full&quot;, better BLOATED OS is the problem. Will be more expensive

      heavier, thicker, hotter, less battery life, and MORE EXPENSIVE.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

        @DonnieBoy

        Once again you confuse a toy with a tool. You also seem to have trouble understanding a phone OS based on cut down versions of last century's Unix or Linux is fine for a consumer media player, but a real OS makes the device a tool.

        I'm all for slate versus tablets. In the same way a slate was better than a clay tablet and stick.
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

        @tonymcs Then you must run on a "real" OS because you sir are most definitely a tool ;-)
        non-biased
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @Cylon Centurion 0005
      well ,which is it? A full OS or a slimmed down version?
      smartin007
      • A full OS, but

        @smartin007

        Trimmed down.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

        [i]Trimmed down.[/i]

        What?? You mean they can't run SQL server on it ?!?
        search &amp; destroy
    • Message Deleted

      .
      P. Douglas
  • Wow, when will they get rid of this dork? When will they cut to the chase

    and produce a competitive table to iPad in terms of cost, weight, thickness, battery life, and finally user interface / applications. Meanwhile, iPad 2 is on the way, and the bar is going to get higher.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @DonnieBoy
      What interests me is this part:
      "The company is encouraging partners to build HTML5 apps, which will not be sold in an app store but instead will be hosted by the partners on their own web sites, which will be highlighted in a search interface on the slates."

      This will not differentiate the platform, but will mean devices like the current iPad will have access to these HTML5 selling points. This however doesn't work in reverse, and iPad apps will remain iOS specific.

      This move would be good for the tablet genre as a whole, and even for the Chrome OS devices forthcoming, but won't be a real feature of these Windows devices.
      lelandhendrix@...
  • Not a chance

    "similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing."<br><br>X86 hardware, fan, a BIG battery (unless you want only a couple of hours run-time), AND a slide out keyboard? Why not just show a fricking netbook with a touch screen?<br><br>Look, a netbook is "similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin". So they make a brick twice the thickness (and weight) of the iPad, and they are going to call it an iPad competitor?<br><br>If they show another prototype that does not make it to the market OR bombs (relatively speaking) AND their WP7 delivers weak sales volumes, MS will become the joke of the tablet and smart phone market segments. And from that they may never recover. The developers will abandon them and the iOS and Android devices will have insurmountable leads. They will have become the standards, just like MS an Apple were in personal computers.
    Economister
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @Economister
      I think MS already is the joke of the slate/ipad and smart phone market. Just watch Ballmer in last years Keynote trying to tap the tiny little icons with his big monkey fingers. Im not sure why we still look to MS for an iPad killer, since they only make the software, not the hardware, and clearly they dont know what they are doing in the slate arena. Android and iOS are years ahead of them.
      smartin007
      • I don't think he wants to make money off slates

        @smartin007 ... I think he just wants to damage Apple's profitability. The whole point is to keep Windows/Office monopolies on desktops going longer. Any competing company which might one day erode that becomes a target of the latest money-losing loss leading expensive hobby at Redmond.
        Bings, Bangs, Zunes, Kins, etc etc etc.
        HollywoodDog
      • I don't think he wants to make money off slates

        @smartin007 ... I think he just wants to damage Apple's profitability. The whole point is to keep Windows/Office monopolies on desktops going longer. Any competing company which might one day erode that becomes a target of the latest money-losing loss leading expensive hobby at Redmond.
        Bings, Bangs, Zunes, Kins, etc etc etc.
        HollywoodDog
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @Economister I agree! They are being far too cautious and conservative with their offerings. But that's Microsoft, they only build the software and not the hardware and there are apparently limits to how far they can innovate when they only focus on translating desktop UI onto a tablet style device by making loads of compromises.

      They can't advance with all this "me too!" mess unless they want to take a bold direction. This STILL ISN'T IT!
      lelandhendrix@...
  • Fool Me Once, Shame on You ...

    Fool me twice, ...
    curph
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @curph
      wont get fooled agaiiiiiiinnnnnnnnn
      smartin007
    • The market hasn't been this excited since Zune

      This is so funny;-) poor MCSEs
      Richard Flude
    • RE: Deja vu rumor: Ballmer to showcase

      @curph

      As if any trolls actually owned a Windows tablet. But I am prepared to believe you've been fooled multiple times.
      tonymcs@...
  • Slate PC's. Sounds like a rock

    Isn't that what a slate is, like a blackboard? Perhaps its performance matches its name.
    HollywoodDog