Those hoping to soon own a Microsoft (News - Alert) e-reader will be disappointed to hear that the rumor of a joint Barnes & Noble/Microsoft tablet was shot down today by B&N itself.
The book retailer and owner of the Nook line of e-readers released an official statement saying it will be in no way involved with Microsoft's mystery announcement, set to take place later today.
Microsoft announced its intention last week to make a big statement today relating to Windows RT-based tablets – in other words, Windows 8 tablets. Over the weekend, rumors ran rampant that Microsoft's recent partnership with Barnes & Noble would in some way factor into this announcement.
As this is not the case, the only speculation remaining is that Microsoft may enter the tablet market directly with its own device.
There has also been talk that the rumored tablet may have tight Xbox 360 integration of some sort. CNET, for instance, has reported rumors that the new tablet will be able to double as an Xbox controller that will “include an ARM processor from Texas Instruments for ‘Kinect workloads,’ as well as custom IBM (News - Alert) engine for ‘scale out.’"
This isn't too wild of a speculation, since Microsoft has introduced similar functionality in the form of an app for the Windows Phone (News - Alert) platform, albeit in a very limited fashion. The app allows users to use their Windows Phone device as a controller only on the Xbox dashboard, with access to basic functionality when watching video or listening to music.
Other sources are more conservative, expecting Microsoft to merely showcase Windows 8 on ARM (News - Alert) devices alongside new programs and features of the OS.
The world will just have to wait until later today to find out just what Microsoft has up its sleeve, if anything. Expectations are high, though, as the official invite for the event stated that "This will be a major Microsoft announcement – you will not want to miss it."