After the success of Windows 7 last year, it was perhaps predictable that Microsoft wouldn't be able to top that in its CES keynote this year. Aside from some slightly amusing technical gremlins at the beginning of the keynote, related to power rather than software I hasten to add, there was very little that was either new or that interesting apart from the HP Slate.
Technical details on the tablet-esque device are near non-existent right now, so we can only go on what Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, showed and what we can glean from the recently released press shots and teaser video (see bottom of page). Unlike a Tablet PC, which has a convertible screen and a proper keyboard, or a UMPC, the HP Slate is an entirely touch-driven device.
This, as you'd rightly expect, is multi-touch enabled and Ballmer busied himself pinching, zooming and generally showing off both the Slate's ability and Windows 7's multi-touch support. It's interesting, however, that the system appeared to be running a pretty vanilla version of Windows without any kind of UI enhancements. While 7 is more finger friendly than previous efforts, it still doesn't lend itself that well to touch navigation – particularly when using a finger.
Only hands-on time will resolve this particular query, so keep an eye out for more info soon.