Slate wars: The death of the one-trick e-reader?

The slate wars are about to kick off between Apple and Microsoft, but it's worth considering the collateral damage---the e-reader.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Microsoft is reportedly going to show off a slate/tablet computing device as CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage at CES 2010 Wednesday night. And as we know Apple is planning its tablet debut later this month.

The New York Times reports that Ballmer will show off an HP prototype that will be a multimedia computing device with e-reader and multi-touch capabilities.

While the Microsoft-Apple storyline is obvious it's worth considering the collateral damage---the e-reader.

Also see: Special Report: CES 2010

E-readers such as the Kindle, nook and Sony Reader are fine for one function---reading. The argument is that the devices are easy to forget. Like a book you can get lost in them. For many folks, these devices are swell.

However, there's a big audience that wants more.

If these tablets lump in e-reading capabilities as an add-on and pricing is roughly equal why wouldn't you go for the tablet?

That's the big question consumers will have to answer. My hunch is a lot of folks will opt for the bundle of capabilities ahead of the one-purpose device.

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