“They've hinted that they may be introducing a new tablet computer.”

English Lesson: They've hinted that they may be introducing a new tablet computer.

You have heard some information that makes you think that Sony is going to start selling a tablet computer. The information came from things that the company said and wrote, but they haven't officially said that they will do this. You think that they will announce it at a conference next week. You write this on an Internet message board about this conference.

They've hinted that they may be introducing a new tablet computer.

Want Video and Sound? Follow us on YouTube

hint that (clause)

"Hint that ___" means to say things that make people guess that you are thinking a certain way.

For example, if Sony "hinted that" they were introducing a new tablet computer, it means that the company hasn't directly stated that they are releasing it. But they have said other things, like:

We're releasing a new product that will give Apple something to consider.

Since one of Apple's most popular products is a tablet computer, it seems that Sony might be talking about competing with that product.

(someone) may be (doing something)

This phrase means that someone might have plans to do something.

There's a slight difference between using "they may be ___ing" vs. "they may ___":

Sony has hinted that they may introduce a tablet computer.

This means that they may or may not have decided to release one yet. The idea is in the early planning stages.

Sony has hinted that they may be introducing a tablet computer.

Ths suggests that they are already planning to do it.

introduce (a product)

When a company "introduces" a new product, it tells the general public that the product will be available.

You can use the phrase "___ introduced ___" if the company has started just selling the product. You can also use it if the company just announced that they were going to release the product:

They just introduced a new ultra-flat-screen TV at the Consumer Electronics Conference which is supposed to be available later this year.

Notice that this phrase is followed by the singular ("introduced a new ultra-flat-screen TV ") instead of the plural ("introduced new ultra-flat-screen TVs").

a tablet computer

This is a flat computer device with a screen but no keyboard attached, like the Apple iPad.