This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had the biggest audience since the pre-recession 2008 show, hopefully an early indicator of economic recovery in 2011.
One emerging market that kept the masses of show attendees on the move was tablet PCs, as hardware makers showed off new devices, and Microsoft, Google and RIM announced future plans for their respective operating systems on tablets.
Google took the wraps of Android 3.0 -- aka Honeycomb -- the latest version of Google's mobile OS, which is designed specifically for tablet PCs. It will run on devices from hardware makers such as Motorola. Google has yet to announce a formal launch date for Honeycomb, but Motorola says its Xoom tablet running Honeycomb will debut sometime within this quarter.
RIM made its BlackBerry Playbook tablet available to the public and announced that the first devices will be available before the end of March.
On day one of the show Microsoft announced it will be taking a more deliberate approach with tablets by making the next version of Windows compatible with ARM-based chips, which are prominent on nearly all smartphones and tablet PCs, including the iPad.
Here are the biggest stories from CES involving tablets from CIO.com and other IDG publications.
While Apple's iPad is likely to remain the top selling tablet in 2011, hardware vendors like Acer, Samsung, Asus and Toshiba previewed a host of rival devices at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Tablets are taking center stage at CES, but big announcements from Microsoft and buzz around chips are also in the limelight.
Could Microsoft's risky bet of choosing its client version of Windows over Windows Phone 7 as the OS for tablets pay off in the end?
Google took the wraps off Android Honeycomb, the latest edition of its mobile OS, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this week. So why serve up another new version when the last one, Android Gingerbread, is barely out of the oven? It's simple: Unlike Gingerbread, Honeycomb isn't made for your phone.
CIO.com's Al Sacco sat down with a BlackBerry PlayBook product manager at CES 2011 for some details on what CIOs and IT administrators should know about RIM's upcoming tablet PC.
RIM is currently showing off its much-hyped BlackBerry PlayBook tablet PC at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and CIO.com's Al Sacco was on the scene for a first look at how the tablet connects to a BlackBerry smartphone for e-mail and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) access.
If Microsoft is too slow developing Windows-based tablets, its bread-and-butter enterprise business could soon pay the price, according to industry analysts.
CIO.com's Al Sacco offers this video tour of RIM's BlackBerry booth at CES 2011, where the PlayBook tablet is on display.
Will Microsoft get its tablet act together in 2011? Here's what we'd like to hear from Steve Ballmer about tablets at CES.
Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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