Best Buy Hints At Tablet Launch

Geek Squad founder and CTO Robert Stevens posted photos of tablet prototypes to his Twitter accounts indicating they may be "coming soon."
Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is hinting that it may launch a tablet computer. Best Buy Chief Technology Officer Robert Stevens on Twitter last week posted pictures of what he said were prototypes for what the tablets would look like. "No guts inside, but coming soon," he said.

One photo was of two tablets, and a second photo showed someone holding one of the prototypes.

Stevens, who founded Best Buy's Geek Squad computer repair service, played down the posts, saying, "I've been tweeting photos of tablet for months. So much for the real-time web. No one should be surprised. Who do you think makes Insignia?"

Insignia is Best Buy's brand for consumer electronics products that are made by third-party manufacturers for the retailer. The re-branded devices are typically low-cost products. Best Buy also has the "Blue Label" brand for PCs and the Rocketfish brand for networking products.

The market for tablet computers has been jumpstarted by the success of Apple's iPad, a touch-based system focused primarily on entertainment, such as video, games and music. Apple says it sold 3 million iPads the first 80 days after its launch in early April.

Major consumer electronics makers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, LG Electronics, Samsung and other have announced plans to eventually offer tablets. Forrester Research predicts tablet-style computers will outsell netbooks, which were the hottest selling PC last year, in 2012. By 2015, tablets, also called slates, will also outsell desktops.

Unit sales of personal computers as a whole will increase by 52% over the next five years, Forrester Research says. Desktops will be the only PC category in which fewer units will be sold in five years than today.


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