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Ballmer: 'next generation of Windows systems' coming next year

The name "Windows 8" may have been tossed around a lot as of late, but Steve Ballmer himself has only just now uttered the name for the first time in public at the company's developer forum in Japan. What's more, while he didn't divulge a ton of specifics, he did say that the "next generation of Windows systems" will be coming out next year, and that "there's a whole lot more coming," including "slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors." As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley notes, the distinction between "slates" and "tablets" as two separate form factors is certainly an interesting one, as is the fact that he curiously didn't use the name Windows 8 in connection with those next generation Windows systems. What does it all mean? Perhaps Microsoft's Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, will have more to say during his appearance at the D9 conference next week -- Winrumors is reporting that he may even be set to demo the company's Windows 8 Tablet UI. And, yes, you can count on us being there to bring it all to you live.