Optical/IP Networks

Microsoft's Tablet Concept

1:10 PM -- It looks as if Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) may end up beating Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), at least in the tablet rumor stakes.

There is a fairly detailed leak about Microsoft's "Courier" tablet over on Gizmodo. The prototype is a double-touch-screen device that looks a like a book. The tablet reportedly has two 7-inch screens, a built-in camera, and WiFi.

The Microsoft concept is quite different from Apple's long-rumored approach to the mobile computing devices. The Apple tablet supposedly looks like a larger version of the iPod touch, with lots of different features attributed to the near-mythical beast.

Assuming either of these gadgets ever makes it to market, I guess I have one central question about mass-market tablets: Who is going to buy them?

With laptops and netbooks generally getting smaller, cheaper, and more powerful, while users can access more and more applications on their smartphones and synchronization between the two platforms improving, is there actually a niche for tablets anymore?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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