The CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, has confirmed that the software giant will be pushing Windows 7 slates towards the end of the year with the help of strategic PC partners such as Dell, Asus, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony or Acer.
During a keynote at the World Partner Conference, Ballmer told an audience of 14,000 that the company wouldn't commit the same mistakes by allowing Apple and other rivals from capitalising on early product launches to take a lead in sales.
Steve Ballmer was adamant that Windows 7-capable devices would be quite impressive, the Telegraph reports, before adding that "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 and Windows 7 phones".
Microsoft is likely to expand the range of products under the "tablet" banner by offering various options; some of them will be with keyboards, some with docks and available in a number of sizes and prices.
The move by Ballmer to include both Dell and HP is seen as a vital one since these two US-based companies have launched non-Windows tablets. Dell made a lot of noise around the Dell Streak, a diminutive 5-inch tablet with phone capabilities.
HP also confirmed its weakening allegiance to Windows by acquiring Palm and stating that it will use Palm OS to power a range of products including tablets. Microsoft has already cancelled Courier, which was seen as a forerunner to the Apple iPad, but was then quietly zapped.