Las Vegas: Amidst various speculations on the release date of the Apple tablet computer, Microsoft and HP might soon announce their own tablet computers. Tablet computers are aiming to bridge the gap between laptops and smartphones. Microsoft and HP may be seeking to steal a march on Apple's hotly anticipated tablet, widely reported to be unveiled on Jan. 27, though the company has not confirmed that, reports Reuters.
The Microsoft tablet device will come with multimedia capabilities and multi-touch functions, sources familiar with the product told Reuters without elaborating, confirming a New York Times report. It will go on sale possibly by mid-2010, the newspaper reported on its website.
There has been lot of buzz in market about the potential of these tablets. In the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Qualcomm and Nvidia are also expected to unveil so-called smartbooks based on their chips. Freescale Semiconductor already has announced its own version.
Endpoint Technologies Analyst Roger Kay said both Microsoft and HP have experience in designing a touch-screen, tablet-style device but that consumer interest in the category has never lived up to the hype. That could all change, he said, if Apple joins the fray. Microsoft and HP faced a difficult challenge in topping whatever device Apple launches, Kay added. "The elephant in the room of course is Apple. Other manufacturers are scrambling to get things together before it defines the market," Kay said. "HP may be looking to put a stake in the ground before Apple makes its move."
HP has already launched many touch PCs and recently announced new products such as an updated version of its TouchSmart swivel-screen convertible laptop, and a touch-enabled netbook. Unni Narayanan from Primary Global Research said he does not expect the new tablet to showcase any game-changing innovation, and instead may be more advanced versions of existing HP devices already on the market. "Our expectation is that it will be a testing-the-waters sort of thing," he said.
From Microsoft's perspective, Kay said the company wants to "highlight and showcase everything that Windows 7 can do." Seeing so many companies developing their own chip to produce tablet will be a matter of concern for Intel, which makes eight out of 10 microprocessors in the global market.