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Microsoft Promises A 'Major' Announcement; What Will It Be?

What will Microsoft unveil today? The buzz has been building since Microsoft sent an event announcement that promised a "major" unveiling at 6:30 p.m. ET. in Los Angeles.

What can it be?

The AP says:

"Speculation about the Los Angeles media event is that the company plans to unveil either a tablet computer or a system that uses an upcoming version of Windows to help people access TV shows and movies across a range of devices.

"A Microsoft-branded tablet wouldn't come as a complete surprise. In April, Microsoft announced a $300 million, 17.6 percent stake in Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book business."

The reports are varied. Quoting unnamed sources, Tech Crunch reports that what's on tap is "a tablet/e-reader built in conjunction with Barnes & Noble is on tap and that it will be entertainment driven."

Tech Crunch adds that it would be "the first non-Xbox device to gain Xbox Live streaming capabilities."

All Things D reports that Microsoft is "set to announce its own brand of tablets."

In her analysis, Ina Fried reminds us that Microsoft has a history of trying its hand at hardware but with the exception of the Xbox, it has not succeeded.

Fried says:

"While it remains to be seen how this product compares to the competition, Microsoft finds itself in position similar to when it introduced the Zune. At that point, the company had been trying to compete against the iPod, with a series of hardware partners using its software.

"This time around, the stakes are much higher. We're no longer talking about a peripheral, but rather the future of computing and the core of Microsoft's business."

We'll keep an eye out on the announcement and update you once we know more.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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