CES 2010: Microsoft demoes HP ‘slate’

As we anticipated yesterday, Microsoft announced an HP-made tablet at CEO Steve Ballmer’s CES-opening keynote.While it wasn’t the producti

While it wasn’t the production model of last year’s Courier concept we hoped for, the slick little box is proof that the big guns of tech are serious about finally bridging the closing gap between smartphones and netbooks.

It also proves they’re serious about some of us dropping keys and mice in the near future.

Firm details are pretty thin on the ground, but it looks like Microsoft has decided against putting its own name on the case, preferring instead to use the HP-badged tablet to showcase Windows 7’s touchscreen prowess.

Ballmer says the innards are ‘almost as powerful as a PC’, though didn’t specify what sort of PC that might be, and claims it’s ideal for web, reading and entertainment.

Three modes – movie, book (running Amazon’s Kindle software) and PC – were demoed to the Las Vegas audience.

It’s not going to shake the foundations of Castle Gadget, but the HP tablet is certainly an interesting peek into the way consumer computing is trying to move.

Are you ready for the shift to slate computing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.