updated 07:15 pm EST, Mon December 13, 2010
Microsoft to show Samsung Gloria, Dell tab at CES
Microsoft will try to force itself back into the tablet market again in 2011 with a repeat of its HP Slate demo at CES this year, a new leak detailed today. CEO Steve Ballmer will once more demonstrate examples of Windows 7 tablets and is expected to highlight both an unnamed Dell example and the Samsung Gloria. The Samsung device depends on a slide-out QWERTY keyboard in landscape but uses an on-screen keyboard in portrait mode, the New York Times heard.
Unlike last year, where Microsoft was trying to preempt Apple by pitching tablets for media first, the emphasis at CES 2011 would be on work. It would target business users who may want some tablet functions but still have access to Office later on. The event would also mirror Microsoft's focus on the cloud and would encourage the design of touch-native HTML5 apps, although they might not be ready to show off and would simply be highlighted in web searches rather than pooled into a central portal like the Chrome Web Store.
Windows 8 might also be shown in early form to show off a tablet-optimized interface, although this isn't considered likely since the release may not be completely until later in 2012.
None of the companies involved would confirm the details, though a leak of Ballmer's presentation for CES 2010 was almost entirely accurate.
The presentation would be an attempt to reboot Microsoft's tablet ambitions for 2011 after what's widely considered a major failure this year. After pitching the HP Slate as the ultimate example of Windows 7 tablets, Microsoft watched the device face a nine month delay getting into the market, missing the iPad launch by half a year. HP itself gave up on Microsoft's hopes for a mainstream release and instead acquired Palm to use webOS. The Slate was eventually relegated to the enterprise as well as niche markets and has sold only 9,000 known orders so far; HP had anticipated just 5,000.
Microsoft had also promised to have other contenders on the market by the end of the year, but many of these have since been pushed off into early 2011. Many have decided to wait on Intel's Oak Trail platform for Atom chips since the existing designs Microsoft wanted them to use have been too power-hungry and too slow.
Apple by contrast has sold almost 7.5 million iPads in its first half-year of sales and is expected to ship over 10 million by the end of 2010, eclipsing all Windows Tablet PC shipments combined.