But that was as specific as Ballmer was ready to go, telling listeners in the audience that "they'll be shipping as soon as they are ready."
"I relish the competition," he said. "I wish I could hold up a couple for you today. It's not today. I relish having to do it tomorrow."
But he did drop some hints about what would run the units. With Windows 7 expected to start shipping within the next couple of months, Microsoft is apparently going to fashion a version of its new operating system for tablet computers.
"We have got to make things happen with Windows 7 on slates," he said. "And we're in the process of doing that as we speak," Ballmer said. "We've got everything on our side if we do everything really right."
Although Microsoft has been in the table computer market for several years, it so far has failed to come up with anything approaching the excitement that Apple has garnered for the iPad, which it introduced earlier this year. For more:Between the Lines Seattle pi