Microsoft: Windows 7 tablets coming in months

Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba devices go up against Apple's iPad
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba devices go up against Apple's iPad

Watch out iPad: tablet devices running Windows 7 will be launched within months, according to Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer.

Speaking at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington yesterday, Ballmer said that over the next "several months", a range of Windows 7-based tablet devices - which he called "slates" - will be unveiled from Microsoft's hardware suppliers including Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony.

"This year, one of the most important things that we will do in the smart device category is really push forward with Windows 7-based slates and with Windows 7 phones. This is a terribly important area for us," he said.

While Microsoft tablets have been slow to emerge, Apple has sold millions of its iPad touchscreen device since it was launched in April this year.

Microsoft previously touted a concept tablet device called Courier, but stopped development of the project earlier this year. It did however show off an HP slate device running Windows 7 at this year's CES trade show.

Apple iPad

Microsoft tablets will compete with Apple's iPad touchscreen device
(Photo credit: Apple)

Taking a swipe at other tablet manufacturers, Ballmer said Windows 7 devices will be IT-department friendly, in contrast to "this, that or the other random device that's not currently supported by corporate IT". The Microsoft CEO added the Windows 7 tablet will be a "consumer-oriented device but a device that fits and is manageable with today's enterprise IT solutions".

"They'll come with keyboards, they'll come without keyboards. They'll be dockable. There will be many form factors, many price points, many sizes. But they will run Windows 7. They will run Windows 7 applications. They will run Office. They will accept ink as well as touch-based input," said Ballmer.

The devices will be targeted at the needs of knowledge workers in the business but will also support their "personal interests as they travel", he added.

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