CES 2010 To Highlight Tablet Devices

After years of hype dating back to the days of Comdex and Bill Gates' annual keynote address, the tablet PC has seemingly waited in the weeds for a chance to become a mainstream hit. And this year's Consumer Electronics Show may finally be that opportunity.

A slew of tablets, mini-tablets, e-readers and dual netbook/e-reader devices are scheduled to make their introduction in Las Vegas this week. While Google isn't participating in CES this year, the company is kicking off the week's festivities with today's press conference for the Google Nexus One smartphone.

But we've seen smartphones, and plenty of them, already. The real "wow" factor seems to centered on the tablet model. While Apple is hosting an event at the end of this month to presumably debut its "iSlate" tablet, other vendors are swooping into Las Vegas hoping to beat Apple to the punch and ride the wave of tablet buzz.

Both Microsoft and Dell are rumored to have secret tablet devices up their respective sleeves. According to Gizmodo, the Courier will feature dual 7-inch touch screens. And there's speculation the software giant will introduce Windows 7 Mobile, too, in an effort to restart its slumping mobile OS business. Meanwhile, Dell is rumored to have a 5-inch "mini-tablet" running Google's Android OS.

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Then there are smaller vendors that have already offered a peek at their tablet devices, such as Freescale Semiconductor. Freescale's 7-inch touch-screen tablet runs both Android and Linux and costs less than $200. Then there's Notion Ink's "smartpad" device, also running Android on a 10.1-inch screen with full HD 1080p video playback. Integrated Converged Devices (ICD) also has a tablet that runs on Android and has 1080p video playback, but the ICD Ultra is smaller at 7 inches.

For more, check out our list of must-see products at CES.