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Windows 8 sneak peek from Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer in January?

Windows 8 could make its first appearance at CES in January, if Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer gives us a glimpse.

Windows 8 could make its first appearance at CES in January. Microsoft's chrome-domed commander Steve Ballmer could give us a sneak peek at the next version of Windows alongside tablets from Samsung and Dell at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Ballmer will unveil a range of tablets from assorted manufacturers in his keynote speech in Vegas, the New York Times reports. Ballmer had already promised Windows tablets in time for Christmas -- heyyy, no rush Steve, it's not like your biggest rival has spent the last year eating up the entire tablet market with just one product.

A first look at Windows 8 would almost certainly be the biggest news of the show, and would grab Microsoft far more buzz than a bunch of tablets playing catch-up with the iPad. That said, if MS applies the clever small-screen, mobile-friendly thinking behind Windows Phone 7 to its tablets that'll be all right by us.

Windows tablets that have peeped above the parapet this year include the Acer Iconia dual-screen tablet/laptop hybrid, which started life as Microsoft's own Courier project. The Samsung tablet could be the 10-inch follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a Windows-packing slider codenamed Gloria.

Other tablets heading our way like a pack of pensioners spotting a Vegas casino worker flipping the buffet sign from 'closed' to 'open' include the Motorola Motopad packing Android Honeycomb and the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Here at CNET Towers we're already ironing our sharkskin suits and practising our card-counting for the trip to Las Vegas, where our team of technology high rollers will bring you all the news and hands-on previews of the coolest gadgets direct from CES. When it comes to technology, don't gamble on anyone else.