Rumor has it that Microsoft will be announcing its first tablet at a special event in Los Angeles later today. A Microsoft tablet powered by Windows 8 seems inevitable, especially in the wake of SmartGlass, the new feature designed to sync the Xbox 360 with tablets and smartphones.
Now, as talk about what MS has in store gets louder, potential details are coming into focus and the popular consensus is that the new machine is a little more... complicated than just a Microsoft's answer to the iPad.
According to Techcrunch, Microsoft is teaming up with Barnes and Nobles to create a first-party e-reader/tablet, presumably akin to Amazon's Kindle Fire. The machine will be designed with entertainment in mind, and will feature "Xbox Streaming Video". If so, the tablet will be the first device to utilize the service other than the Xbox 360.
Based on the potential arrangement between MS and B&N, it doesn't sound like this will take the place of a proper Microsoft tablet: Microsoft will produce the tablet and own a 17.6 percent equity stake in Newco, a joint-corporation formed to handle the new tablet business. Microsoft will control the other 82.4 percent.
The Microsoft event starts at 3:30 Pacific, so we'll just have to wait and see what Microsoft has up their sleeve.