Microsoft leader Steve Ballmer (pictured) has revealed the slate PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Slate computers have been garnering high expectations both from the media industry and consumers, fuelled by rumours that Apple will reveal its take on the technology later this month. Ballmer hinted just yesterday that Microsoft were ahead of Apple in the game.

Slate computers are considered a critical technology filling the gap between smartphones and notepad computers. The media, beset with the worst advertising dip of recent times is hoping wide adoption of the technology will entice consumers to subscribe to newspapers delivered via this technology.

By launching with the support of hardware behemoth HP and using the already popular Windows 7 operating system Microsoft could potentially make this a difficult market for Apple to compete in. Ballmer also revealed slate devices form Archos and Pegatron Corp.

A mobile hardware schism could arise now, following the launch earlier this week of the Google smartphone built by HTC. CIO will need to consider whether a smartphone or a mobile device that supports Windows 7 is better for the corporation. With Windows 7 being assessed and adopted by increasing numbers of CIOs, the Microsoft based slates could win to the cost of Apple and Google.