Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today delivered the keynote kicking off the Windows Partner Conference. He used the opportunity to announce that a number of Windows 7 slate devices would be available by the end of the year. Among manufacturers planning to release such devices, Ballmer called out Dell, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.
“This year, one of the most important things that we will do in the smart device category is really push forward with Windows 7-based slates,” said Ballmer. “This is a terribly important area for us.”
While the HP logo was displayed on a slide showing manufacturers with plans for Windows 7 tablets, Ballmer made no mention of the company. This is in stark contrast to his CEO keynote where an HP slate was a highlight. This suggests that HP may not have completely canceled its Windows 7 slate project although its future may still be in jeopardy in light of HP’s recent acquisition of Palm (and the rumoured HP Hurricane webOS tablet).
Ballmer hinted that there will be variety among the tablets coming, suggesting different form factors (with and without keyboards, dockable, etc) and different price points.