Apple Tablet and iPhone SDK 4.0: the slate fever builds up with e-readers announcements

islate-feverThe CES in Las Vegas saw the debut of three new e-reader devices, while Dell and Microsoft have demonstrated prototypes of tablet devices (slate PCs).

During his keynote at CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a touchscreen tablet from HP running Windows 7, that was dubbed a “slate PC.” The touchscreen HP device that was shown was just one of many new products and services revealed by Ballmer. A YouTube video is available here.

Dell has briefly demoed a 5-inch device — which is reminiscent of larger Apple iPhone or iPod touch — also referring to it as a “slate.” They said it was just one of several tiny tablet devices they’ve been working on in their R&D department, each of which has a different screen size. The prototype shown was running Google’s Android operating system and, according to these press photos, featured a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash mounted on the rear of the device. A brief demonstration video was also run during Dell’s presentation in which the tablet device was shown with a large touch-screen keyboard, multi-player gaming functionality, and media sharing capabilities.

Engadget had some hands-on time with the Skiff e-reader, and was impressed with the device and its 11.5-inch touchscreen. “The UI looked reasonable for skimming through large publications such as the Sunday edition of the New York Times and offers a search mechanism that works device wide or within the content you’re viewing,” the report said. “Finger swipes applied to the resistive touchscreen worked as expected: swiping a finger left or right results in page turns while swipes up or down will increase or reduce font size, respectively.”

Notion Ink Adam, an Android-based “smartpad” sporting Nvidia’s new Tegra chipset and the Pixel Qi display which allows the backlight to be switched on or off. The device was seen only as a prototype at CES.

Plastic Logic’s long-awaited Que e-reader was shown at CES this week. The Que will be priced $650 for 4GB of storage, while an 8GB model will cost $800. The Plastic Logic device has a large, shatterproof 8.5-by-11-inch black-and-white screen and has been presented as a “pro reader,” geared towards businesses and professionals. It is due to ship in mid-April.