Microsoft CEO Ballmer Shows Off New Windows 7 Tablet Prototypes

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Monday offered a sneak peek at new Windows 7-based tablet prototypes during the software giant's Worldwide Partner Conference, according to a report on

Ballmer, delivering a keynote speech at the event, predicted that a plethora of Windows 7 tablets would hit the market before year-end from such manufacturers as Dell (DELL), Samsung, Toshiba (TOSBF) and Sony (SNE). Just last month at Computex, Microsoft's booth was teeming with Windows 7 tablets, according to a post on Engadget, and apparently Ballmer got his hands on a few more to trot out this week at Microsoft's partner conference.

Since Apple's (AAPL) iPad debut and the feeding frenzy that followed, other computer makers have been in rush mode trying to get their own tablet computers out the door. Dell announced its Streak tablet in late May, and ASUSTek was among the computer makers unveiling tablets at Computex last month.