CES: Ballmer Intros Three Slate PCs, Including HP Prototype

LAS VEGAS -- As expected, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during his Wednesday night CES keynote introduced an HP slate computer, along with two other similar devices, all of which were running Windows 7 and could be used in three modes: PC, movie, and e-book reader.

CNN.com’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt noted that when Mr. Ballmer showed off the HP device, it had on the screen an Amazon Kindle version of the book Twilight, which he speculated was “a subtle dig at [Microsoft’s] competitors in Cupertino.” According to PC World, which said the HP device is "a big disappointment," he described each one as "something that's almost as portable as a phone and that's as powerful as a PC running Windows 7." Little was revealed about the HP slate, other than a sub-US$500 price point. The Pegatron one had a larger screen and was aimed at those who want to read newspapers and magazines on it.

The other two tablet PCs displayed by Mr. Ballmer were made by Pegatron Corp. and Archos. The HP version received the most attention; Mr. Ballmer said it will arrive “later this year.” Gizmodo has several pictures from the keynote address, along with a promotional video for the HP slate computer that shows off its multi-touch display.

Gizmodo also has a rundown of Mr. Ballmer’s entire keynote, which opened with an amusing video from Saturday Night Live’s Seth Myers but didn’t have anything more exciting than the slate PC introductions going for it. A TV with a built-in PC was going to be demo’d, but, according to Mr. Ballmer, “it blew the tube.”

A video of Mr. Ballmer’s keynote is available on Microsoft’s web site.