Sources are confirming to us that Microsoft will be very focused on the success of the iPad when it announces its own counter attack with a number of competing tablet models. Microsoft is said to be focusing on things that the tablet can do beyond just entertainment; look for a heavy emphasis on Office style uses for the devices.
The one thing that is certain to be quite interesting to see is the number of design concepts that will be much different from what we have seen in the iPad. Look for slide out keyboards and advanced expansion options to be part of the offerings from hardware manufacturers.
The new tablet devices are said to be running Windows 7 when in landscape mode, but offer a menu-driven Zune style menu system when in the portrait mode. Microsoft is said to be promoting HTML5 as the primary development platform for the devices that allows for the hosting of applications within the cloud.
While it does sounds like Microsoft is planning something involving tablets for CES, our sources tell us that (as always) plans could change right up till game time, so who knows what we will see? For sure, however, Microsoft wants a bigger role in the tablet space and it would appear that now is the time.