Microsoft to Kick Off its Slate at CES. Again

Apparently Microsoft is gearing up to kick start slate tablet computers at CES, just as it did last year. Sources familiar with the company’s plans claim CEO Steve Ballmer will show off slate devices from several partners — just as he did last year.

Mr. Ballmer will apparently have slate tablets from Samsung, Dell and other manufacturers to show off during his CES keynote presentation, according to the New York Times. His plan is to highlight devices designed to steal some tablet marketshare from Apple’s iPad.

Steve Ballmer shows off a slate during his CES 2010 keynote

Microsoft plans to present its partner devices at tools designed for actual work, implying the iPad is for casual entertainment. “[Microsoft] believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work,” an unnamed source said.

Apparently Microsoft is pushing slate builders to design Web-based apps for their devices instead of native applications. In contrast, Apple supports its App Store for developers that code native apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Mr. Ballmer attempted to breath life into iPad-like tablet computers he called slates during his keynote presentation at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in 2010. The devices he quickly showed were prototypes, and few are available nearly a year after Mr. Ballmer’s presentation.

CES runs from January 6 through January 9, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Mac Observer will be on location covering the event’s news and products.