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Microsoft to dive into tablet market – again

Microsoft to dive into tablet market – again

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Last January, Microsoft unveiled a Windows-based tablet – the Slate by HP. The preemptive strike against Apple’s iPad was supposed to entrench the Redmond, Washington, giant as a leader in the category.

Nearly one year later, Microsoft and Windows haven’t even left the gate, while Apple has owned the market, and Google’s Android OS has started to hit the streets. The Slate was reportedly clunky and unwieldy, and HP decided that Windows wasn’t an ideal system for a tablet device, unceremoniously dropping the project before it got to market (and continuing it with their own OS).

Now comes word that Microsoft will finally bring its Windows OS into the tablet market at next month’s CES show. The device will run on Windows 7, while the hardware will be manufactured by partners Dell and Samsung. The NY Time is reporting that the Samsung device – called ‘Gloria’ – will have a slide out keyboard.

Microsoft is late the tablet game, but certainly not out of it. If the devices can run smoothly and efficiently, the familiarity users have with Windows – not to mention potential interfacing with Microsoft products such as Office – will be a powerful lure. The key will be how effectively Windows 7 can run on a smaller tablet.

The arrival of the Windows tablets probably won’t happen until April or May of 2011. But come January, we’ll see if Microsoft can rebound from a lost year.

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