Ballmer confirms Windows 7 tablet, it may come from Acer

The tablet space (re)invented by Apple’s iPad is heating up. For months after the iPad’s release and great sales success we’ve heard that many competitors will start showing up sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

But while the Samsung Galaxy Tab was already unveiled and is expected to ship soon, RIM’s PlayBook and HP’s WebOS-powered PalmPad will only be available next year.

The Chinese-language Commerical Times now reports that Acer is prepping a Windows 7 tablet to be launched before the end of this year. The Taiwanese computer maker is also said to launch Android 3.0 Gingerbread tablets in Q1 of next year.

Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba and MSI are also expected to make moves in this space either by the end of 2010 or at the beginning of 2011.

According to Reuters, Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, told an audience at the London School of Economics that new Windows-powered slates will be seen “this Christmas”.

That is a rather vague statement, since it doesn’t elaborate on how many different devices “will be seen”, or whether “seen” means that they will be announced prior to December 25th or already available to buy before Christmas.

Ballmer also didn’t say who would make these ‘slates’, but it seems very likely that one of them is the Acer tablet.

IT research company Gartner predicts that 10 million tablets will be sold this year, in a market where the iPad was already sold in 3.3 million units in its first quarter of existence.

The tablet space will likely continue to grow, especially as more and more products are released, so it makes sense for big computer makers such as Acer to be in this game. It also makes sense for Microsoft to push them to use Windows 7, since they’ve been touting Windows 7’s tablet capabilities ever since its launch about a year ago.

So do expect a growing number of tablets to be available in the coming months at a retailer near you.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Scott Garrison

    Windows 7 will have to be tweaked to make it more user friendly for tablets.