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Windows tablet: What does Microsoft have in store?

Microsoft is widely expected to unveil a Windows 8-powered tablet at a press event in Los Angeles today. 

By Matthew Shaer / June 18, 2012

A Microsoft Windows 8 display at a tech fair in Taiwan. A new Windows 8-powered tablet is reportedly on the way.

Reuters

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Later on today, Microsoft reps will gather at Milk Studios, in Los Angeles, to introduce a new device – most likely (if the popular consensus is to be believed) a Windows 8-powered tablet computer. Initially, TechCrunch had reported that the tablet would be "built in conjunction with Barnes & Noble," but reps for the bookseller have denied the claim, saying only that the company is "not participating" in this afternoon's event. 

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So what does Microsoft have on tap? Well, here's one option: A sub-$500 tablet, which would undercut the Apple iPad on price (Apple's tablets start at $499) while providing more functionality than the feature-lean Amazon Kindle Fire. In other words, analyst Salman Chaudhry told TabTimes, the Microsoft tablet must be cheap, and also "offer native Office tools, Xbox Live functionality and a stable of high-quality apps." 

As for the size, Brian Barrett of Gizmodo is praying that Microsoft goes with a 9-plus-inch screen (in the mode of the iPad) as opposed to a 7-inch screen (in the mode of the Kindle Fire). 

"[T]he iPad is Jaws, and everyone else is getting the hell out of the water," Barrett writes. "But Microsoft shouldn't play in the kiddie pool. It's the only company with the resources to go toe-to-toe with the iPad, and the only one with the patience. You want people watching movies, playing games, editing Word docs on this thing? Give them enough real estate to do it." 

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