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Microsoft To Introduce Tablet Computer

January 7, 2010

Hewlett-Packard has reportedly been working with Microsoft in preparation for a new slate-type computer, as announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to Reuters.

The device should hit the market by mid-2010.

Kim Caughey, senior analyst at fund manager Fort Pitt Capital Group, said, “Everyone’s fired up about this type of device.”

However, surprisingly (or not), Microsoft’s tablet announcement comes only weeks before Apple is expected to introduce its own tablet device, in late January.

Microsoft’s tablet PCs have been somewhat of an outcast in the computing world since their initial launch. The battery life was always short, they needed a stylus input, and the hardware was bulky. So far, they’re not as successful as expected.

But late last year, Gizmodo published videos and pictures of a stylish Microsoft tablet prototype called Courier. The tablet broke from the traditional single-screen designs and used two adjacent 7-inch touch screens, connected through a hinge.

Since the initial Courier tablet leak, not much has been heard about Microsoft’s tablet plans.

But what will be interesting to see is how Microsoft will market its tablet PC, especially with an Apple version likely on the way.

Talk of Apple’s tablet — potentially the company’s biggest product launch since the iPhone — has swirled in trading rooms, tech websites and industry forums for months.

Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay said both companies have experience in designing a touch-screen, tablet-style device.

The new generation of devices will seek to break Intel Corp’s stranglehold on PCs — the chipmaker makes eight out of 10 microprocessors in the global market. Intel’s Atom processor now dominates the fast-growing netbook market.

Microsoft’s shares fell 0.6 percent to close at $30.77 on Nasdaq. HP was off 0.9 percent at $52.18 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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