Microsoft Plans to Unveil Several iPad Competitors at CES 2011

Microsoft iPad Killer CES

When it comes to the tablet world, the iPad is king. It might not be the most powerful, nor is it as functional as a small netbook, but what it lacks in capability it more than makes up for in accessibility.

While the giant iPhone sans phone has its stranglehold on the tablet market for now, in a year’s time things could change - as Microsoft has hinted at plans to reveal some iPad contenders.

Rumored to be a Consumer Electronics Show 2011 announcement, Microsoft’s versions (that’s right versions) will be primarily created by either Dell or Samsung and will feature some of the capabilities, like the ability to use HTML5, present in today’s computers. Beyond their rumored existence and some vague hints as to what tech the products might be using, Microsoft has kept mum on the devices, but that should change after next month’s CES.

It’s definitely a bold move on Microsoft’s part to challenge the king of tablets, but if there is a company capable of doing so it’s Microsoft. While the iTunes App Store is the perfect venue from which to purchase games and other applications, it lacks the connectivity of experience present in something like Xbox Live. If Microsoft can mirror the Xbox Live experience, especially the friends list and achievements, they could easily have a winner on their hands.

Unfortunately, as of right now it looks like Microsoft is less interested in creating a centralized app hub and instead wants developers and programmers to work towards hosting applications on their own sites. Sure, that idea has worked out okay for companies like Google, with their new Chrome store, but readily accessible offline apps is what makes the iPad superior.

With such a strong hold on the portable device market, it would probably be best if Microsoft took a stark turn in the opposite direction and delivered something completely different from the iPad. Choosing to try to beat Apple in an area they really shine has proven a losing battle time and time again — something Microsoft knows all to well. Despite some failures, Microsoft can certainly deliver quality tech when they think it through, so hopefully one of these devices will pique more than a few interests.

Would you be interested in picking up one of Microsoft’s answers to the iPad or are you sticking with Apple for the immediate future? What capabilities would a tablet computer need in order to provide a suitable competitor to the iPad?

Source: New York Times

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