We know that Microsoft is having an event Monday in LA. We think it will concern Windows RT; that’s the version of Windows 8 designed for ARM-based tablets similar to the iPad and Galaxy Tabs. And now, rumors are flying that Microsoft will use the event to launch its own tablet, a Microsoft-manufactured tablet.
A Microsoft tablet is an intriguing concept, and there is evidence to suggest it could go in a handful of directions. Perhaps Microsoft will position the tablet as a direct iPad competitor, or perhaps, as ZDNet‘s Mary-Jo Foley points out, Microsoft has its eyes on Amazon and the Kindle Fire.
A move at the Kindle Fire makes a lot of sense, especially considering Microsoft’s recent agreement with Barnes & Noble, an agreement that referred to both Windows Phone and a “Microsoft Reader.” Microsoft also has a good working relationship with Nokia — so the device could actually end up a 7-inch, Nokia-made, but Microsoft-branded Windows Phone 7 consumption device, as Foley speculates.
A low-priced, consumption-oriented, Microsoft tablet is an intriguing thought, one that could greatly expand the budget tablet market beyond the Kindle Fire and B&N Nook Tablet. Consider that Google is expected to unveil a $150 to $250 Google Nexus tablet at Google I/O later this month, and Acer, Samsung, and Lenovo have also dipped their toes in the low-priced Android tablet market. And of course, there are those iPad Mini rumors that refuse to go away.
This wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft dabbled in tablet hardware. In 2010, it had plans to launch the Courier tablet, a dual-screened device that was dropped just after the original iPad release.