After Microsoft scrapped plans to release its dual-screen Courier and HP pulled the plug on its much hyped Windows 7-based Slate (you know, before the company went out and gobbled up Palm, putting them in a webOS state of mind), we wondered if we'd ever see Redmond's latest OS make a run at the tablet market. Wonder no more, says Steve Ballmer, who told 14,000 partners during his July 12 keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference that Windows 7 slates are forthcoming.
Not only are Windows 7 slates coming, says Ballmer, but in a big way. As the outspoken CEO tells it, Microsoft and several of its PC partners have plans to release Windows 7-based tablets in the coming months, including ones from Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sony.
These will ship in varying form factors, everything from ones with physical keyboards to touch only, from dockable tablets to slates with digital ink, and more, Ballmer says.
When exactly these slates will come to market is anyone's guess, but if everyone makes good on their plans, 2011 might go down as the year of the tablet. Everyone and their uncle has been promising to release a tablet at some point or another, with many aiming for late 2010.