HP's multi-touch, Windows 7-powered slate

Samsung's Q1EX UMPC from last year, albeit without multi-touch
Ballmer shows off a slate from HP, but don't expect any Courier magic

Rumors began to swirl yesterday that Steve Ballmer would be announcing a new slate PC today at his CES keynote address. The information handed down from the New York Times concluded that the device would feature a slate format and would be produced by Hewlett Packard.

The NYT's Ashlee Vance was correct on both accounts, however, those of us looking for more than a Windows 7 slate with multi-touch support will likely be disappointed. Instead of the whimsical fantasies dreamt up in Microsoft's Courier videos involving dual screens, pen input and an innovative user interface, those of us sitting in the audience were treated to something a bit more conventional.

In reality, the design reminds us of Microsoft's previous UMPC efforts, only on a larger scale. The prototype device that Ballmer showed the crowd was running a Kindle application for Windows 7 complete with multi-touch support.

Ballmer was quite the tease and didn't divulge any additional information on specs or pricing -- all we know is that the device will be available some time this year. However, we'll do our best to get more information on the device tomorrow.

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