All of a sudden, tablet computers are all the rage, with Apple's iPad stoking the fire. But Apple is hardly going to compete unchallenged in the tablet space. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims that his company is "hardcore" about tablets, and is working with Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony before the end of the year. Ballmer demonstrated an HP slate at the Consumer Electronics Show in January as well. One has to wonder if the real opportunity in tablets lies on the open source front, though.
It's already a lock that tablets based on Google's upcoming Chrome OS will show up, and they could be quite impressive. Chrome OS is tuned for absolutely instant booting, appears to have very tight security, and will be optimized for a cloud model that could lend itself well to tablets. Moreover, Google views Chrome OS as yet another on-ramp to its lucrative search-and-ad ecosystem, and has little reason to build huge costs into Chrome OS tablets.
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