Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed that PC partners including Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Asus will be releasing multiple Windows 7 tablet PCs before the end of the year. Addressing a crowd of 14,000 at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington DC, Ballmer asserted that Microsoft was "all in" in regards to the slate form factor.
"One of the most important things we'll do in the smart device category is really push forward with Windows 7-based slates and with Win 7 phones," he said. "This is a terribly important area for us. It certainly is an area where we feel all the energy, vigor and push to innovate, to drive hard and compete."
While short on specifics, Ballmer promised a "range of slates" covering various price points and form factors. Ballmer said they "come with keyboards, come without keyboards, they'll be dockable... they'll accept ink as well as touch-based input." Ballmer especially stressed Windows 7 tablet PC usability in the enterprise space, particularly with corporate IT departments.
A graphic shown during the presentation displayed a range of companies promising Windows tablet PCs as "coming within the year." The companies included the manufactures Ballmer mentioned during his address, as well as HP, Fujitsu, MSI, Motion Computing and Panasonic, among others.
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