Christmas gets tablet-crazy: Microsoft announces Windows slates by holiday season

SlateAs Microsoft struggles for relevance in the fast-paced, highly competitive portable device market, chief exec Steve Ballmer promised a Microsoft slate tablet by the Christmas season. Does this mean it will be buyable? Not necessarily—just that we’ll “see” them.

The timing coincides with Research in Motion’s Blackberry PlayBook, a hardware-heavy 7-inch device, and also somewhat with the forthcoming Dell streak, available in a PlayBook size and a 10-inch iPad size. Speaking of the iPad, Christmas is also looking like a good time for Apple to unveil a second-gen iPad, which is starting to look woefully underwhelming as considerably more capable tablets prep for market launch.