Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference today, Steve Ballmer promised tablets in a variety of form factors would arrive by the end of the year from partners including Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba - but offered no specifics. ASUS has already announced ASUS Eee Pad and MSI has announced the WindPad, but previous Windows tablet projects such as the HP Slate and the Microsoft Courier are vaporware thus far. Microsoft is said to be targeting IT managers with its tablets.At the
Microsoft will be entering a competitive marketplace in which enterprises will have several options. The iPad is gaining in the enterprise, Cisco is entering the tablet market with an Android tablet, and RIM is rumored to be releasing a BlackBerry tablet. Also, Dell has already released a consumer focused Android tablet and Intel and Nokia have demoed a MeeGo tablet.
ZDNet notes Microsoft is developing Windows 8 with the tablet form factor in mind. Although Chrome OS and Cisco will bother offer the ability to run desktop apps through a remote desktop interface, the ability to run traditional Windows applications natively on tablets could be a boon to enterprises.
Intriguingly, Engadget notes that although Ballmer didn't mention HP during his keynote, the company is on the WPC's web sites list of companies releasing a Windows 7 tablet this year.