Steve Ballmer said yesterday that consumers will see Microsoft slate “this Christmas.” Blink blink! He didn’t say they’d be available then, just that we’d “see” them, according to Reuters.

Tablets are obviously white hot right now: iPads remain the object of technolust for many, and Android-powered tablets have been flooding the marketplace. Ballmer’s been saying that a Windows 7 tablet was nigh for months, and still nada. At this point, it’s going to have to be pretty damn cool slate to elbow its way in. I so hope it’s called the Windows Window.

As of now, the iPad has become the fasted-adopted non-phone gadget ever. Can a Windows tablet compete, PopWatchers? Or are iPads becoming the standard tablet?