Microsoft Pushes Tablet PCs, Windows 7 at CES, But Not Mobile

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer displayed an upcoming tablet PC manufactured by HP, and pumped the prospects of Bing and Windows 7, at his Jan. 6 keynote address at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Tablet PCs and e-readers were the hot items at CES for many manufacturers, with many of the devices running Windows 7; however, Microsoft's fortunes in 2010 will be determined by how well it executes its core business, as well as initiatives the company isn’t mentioning here, like the much-rumored Windows Mobile 7 operating system.

LAS VEGAS—If there’s one thing that the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be remembered for, it’s as the show where tablet PCs of all stripes made their appearance in the mainstream. Whether as ultra-portable multi-touch devices, or else e-readers that perform more traditional computing functions such as Web surfing, tablets proved to be one of the show’s more buzzed-about aspects.

The question is, will consumers gravitate towards them?

The answer to that question may not make or break tech companies in 2010, particularly larger ones such as Apple or Microsoft, but it may help determine how PCs evolve in months and years to come. If tablets prove a hit, then they’ll likely become ubiquitous in the hardware space; if they fail, then this year’s CES will be remembered for, among other things, being the flashpoint of a temporary fad.

Tablet PCs earned some buzz for Microsoft at the show. In the hours leading up to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Jan. 6 keynote address, rumors circulated around the blogosphere that he would use his speech to unveil a tablet PC built by Hewlett-Packard. “Mr. Ballmer will show the as-yet-unnamed H.P. device, which will be touted as a multimedia whiz with e-reader and multi-touch functions,” read the New York Times blog posting that started the scuttlebutt; the blooger, Ashlee Vance, cited unnamed sources for his information.

Perhaps taking a page from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is famous for waiting until the end of his presentations to announce new products, Ballmer waited until the end of his speech to show off the Hewlett-Packard device.

Click here for more netbooks and tablets being shown at CES.

“Almost as portable as a phone, but powerful as a PC running Windows 7,” Ballmer said as he held the flatscreen toward the audience. “The emerging category of PCs should take advantage of the touch and portability capabilities.” The tablet PC, which will be available at an unnamed point in 2010, will be able to surf the Web, and display e-books and multi-media content.

Posted by Hadouch | op 08:56

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