Next year could be a big year for tablets. The iPad 2 is rumored to go into production in the first quarter and RIM’s Playbook tablet is slated for release in early 2011. And now, Microsoft’s new tablet computer is expected to debut at CES next month.

The New York Times
reports: “According to people familiar with Microsoft’s plans, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, is expected to announce a number of these devices when he takes the stage at C.E.S., showcasing devices built by Samsung and Dell, among a number of other manufacturing partners.”

According to the Times piece, The Samsung device will run the Windows 7 operating system and it will be about the same size as an iPad only thicker. It is also supposed to have a keyboard that slides out.