CES predictions: tablets take over

Where there’s an Apple rumour, there’s fire. Or so initial impressions from CES suggest. The frenzied rumour-mongering surrounding the so-called iSl

Where there’s an Apple rumour, there’s fire. Or so initial impressions from CES suggest. The frenzied rumour-mongering surrounding the so-called iSlate has prompted some touchscreen tablet-shaped gun-jumping at the gadget show.

Today’s big news (Nexus One aside) has come in the shape of another rumour, this time about Microsoft’s plans for a similar flat, keyless, touchscreen device, to be built by HP.

Nearly 10 years after Bill Gates introduced the Tablet PC concept – a convertible tablet laptop – at the event, his successor Steve Ballmer is expected to champion the next-generation of tablets with a Microsoft-branded entry tomorrow morning.

On more solid ground, Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1 (pictured) has answered the prayers of would-be tableteers who weren’t convinced about dropping keyboards and mice entirely. The nifty slate docks into a laptop shell running beefier hardware.

We’ve also seen little-known Haleron’s Mio iLet 10-inch tablet making a few headlines. But it’s a trickle before the deluge. We’d expect almost all the major PC makers to out at least one concept or production to the tablet-hungry hordes.

Most of the tablets will have few or no physical buttons, communicate via Wi-Fi and GPS, and some will support over-the-air data like 3G. Movies, games, web and document reading will be the killer apps, and we expect a slew of accompanying app stores.

Will they be any good? Will they cost too much? Will we finally be able to kiss goodbye to our trusty mice and keyboards? Watch this space...

Watch our CES 2010 preview video and read the preview blog

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Paddy's CES predictions: 3DTV, eBooks and tablets

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