This year is already shaping up to be the year of the 'tablet PC' – weeks before the expected launch-date of Apple's rumored iSlate, HP, Dell and Motorola have all announced their own competing products.
Apple has called a press conference for January 27, prompting speculation that it will use the date to announce its long-rumored tablet PC.
But if the rumors are true, Apple has been pipped at the post. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used his CES keynote address to announce a tablet PC developed by HP, which will run Windows 7.
The yet-to-be-named device will probably launch in December, Ballmer said. He added that the device promises to be almost as portable as a mobile phone, but as powerful as a PC.
Meanwhile, Dell used the CES to show off a tablet computer of its own.
Dell's tablet runs on the Android OS. Dell said it is testing a number of different screen sizes prior to the unnamed device's launch. The company has yet to formally announce whether it will bring the product to market this year.
Motorola also showcased its own prototype tablet PC, which could be ready to launch in Q4. The tablet, which is also Android-based, will be developed primarily as a media player.
The prototype currently has a 7” screen, and room for up to 32GB of external memory. The anticipated US price is $300.
But Motorola said the timing of the launch will depend on the success of US carrier Verizon Wireless' LTE rollout schedule. Verizon hopes to launch LTE in 25-30 markets this year.