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Compaq Evo Tablet PC with Transmeta processor 126

AVee writes "Cnet has an article about Hp-Compaq announcing there will be a new Compaq Evo tablet PC powered by a 1GHz version of Transmeta's Crusoe TM5800 later this year. There is another article at"
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Compaq Evo Tablet PC with Transmeta processor

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  • a laptop, only less durable. sounds like fun.
  • ipaq pad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PopeAlien ( 164869 )
    That picture (on CNN) looks like a gigantic iPaq. Looks like HP's really getting their moneys worth from Compaq..
    • "That picture"? And in the article, the one of which the caption says "a prototype is seen here"?

      Neither of these is accurate. The graphic in the article seems to be a very crude computer generated image of vaporware. Not a picture, not a prototype.

      But, oh yeah, I'll grant you "giant iPaq".
  • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <> on Monday June 03, 2002 @03:18PM (#3633106) Homepage Journal
    Despite all the recent hype about tablets, I really can't forsee them selling well. I mean, wasn't this tried before? This is especially true when most of the ones I've seen reviewed cost more than a notebook (~$3000). Yeah, you can hang it on a wall, but is the extra grand really worth being able to type on a virtual keyboard with a stylus?

    "It's a drug that gives worms to ex-girlfriends!"

    • My tablet PC cost $150 (used) and runs Linux just fine. It may not be very powerful (32mb ram, 2gb hd, 120mhz P1 iirc), but it is a great little machine. Ir's a Fujitsu Stylistic 1200.

      I can work on cgi scripting or c programs. I can take notes in class with it. It's great for playing mp3s -- through the speaker or headphones, or miniplug-tape adapter. I can even use it to andmininster my server from the road (pcmcia e-net card).

      It even runs Xwindows using a wm designed for PDAs.

      Tablets have uses. Mine is cheaper and more powerful than a PDA or an MP3 player, although it it slightly less portable. Plus it gives me an excuse to practice writing pen drivers for Linux.
    • A killer use for tablets is actually Microsoft's view, eg a remote extension of your desktop that you can take anywhere. What I would love would be an 800X600 tablet with a wireless card and ms terminal services client so I can remote access the desktop on my XP desktop. That way I can run all my normal apps from anywhere in the building, need to look up a number in the corporate directory? Simply launch the quick ldap search in my taskbar, check email, wow just bring up the email client window, etc. A good tablet with minimal cpu and a client to allow it to act like a portable dumb terminal would rock.
  • Why is it everyone seems to think touch screens are the great revolutionary thing. I've used them on palms and casio pocket computers and have found them to be rather annoying at best. I think I'll prefer the laptop. Maybe, I won't look as cool, but at least I won't have to go through the agrivation of using the touch tablets.
    • Why is it that everyone on slashdot these days don't use question marks when asking questions. I've seen them in books and in magazines and have found them to be rather useful at worst. I think I'll prefer a question mark to a period when asking a question. Maybe, I won't look as dumb, but at least I won't have to go through the agrivation of creating mock paragraphs when at work.

      Seriously though, when done well, touch screens can be great. Sorry, but Palms are overpriced electronic organizers, and not designed to be used as 'real' computers. If "casio pocket computers" run PocketPC there are a few programs, like CalliGrapher, that would make it great to use, but since you're identifying it by it's brand name rather than something useful like the platform, I can't be sure.

      With good real handwriting recognition (not graffiti, or some other character recognition scheme)- like CalliGrapher (for PocketPC), PenOffice (for Windoze), or the Newton OS 2.x HWR one can enter text quite fast. I can easily enter 45+ WPM on my Newton. I could probably get faster than that on my iPAQ running CalliGrapher 6 if the screen weren't so damn small.

      But then again, I wouldn't pay a $1000 premium for something as bulky as this, no doubt without decent software to manage input. I suppose you could install PenOffice on top of Windows XP, which is what this no doubt comes preloaded with. However, there is no real HWR for Linux, which is disapointing.

    • These are actually quite useful in the Medical industry for electronic medical records. Physicians can maintain a level of interaction with their patients while still adding notes to records. Even though the laptop argument is a compelling one, there is still an added degree of perceived accessibility when the physician is working on a tablet rather than the both-hands-and-a-lap involvement in a laptop.

      My .02.

  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @03:19PM (#3633119)
    HP anounced today the the tablet device will sell for $50. Replacement screens, which are good for 1000 page views can be purchased for $85, or $100 for 1500 page views.
  • Linux drivers yet? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <jhummel@joh[ ] ['nhu' in gap]> on Monday June 03, 2002 @03:26PM (#3633172) Homepage
    Anybody know if we'll need special drivers to put Linux on this thing (probably the biggest thing is a handwriting recognition program, of course)?

    I'm assuming we'll be force fed Windows XP, but with a Transmeta processor, you can always hope.
    • by benploni ( 125649 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @04:13PM (#3633532) Journal
      The people at www.handhelds.rg have really advanced the state of the art in linux's suitability for tablets. I run Linux + X11 on my Fujistsu pen tablets with great successs. As for handwriting recognition, there is xstroke and xmerlin, among others. xstroke now uses the RENDER extension to get fulllscreen translucent "ink" as youw write over any window.

      It's really slick.
  • ...we now have Micro$oft to thank not only for bloated operating systems, but also bloated Newtons?

    Seriously, isn't this whole idea pretty much useless without handwriting recognition? I've seen nothing to suggest that anyone has that working yet...

    • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @03:55PM (#3633396) Journal
      Seriously, isn't this whole idea pretty much useless without handwriting recognition?

      No, a tablet already has many uses without handwriting recognition. Aside from the normal PC programs that can be used, you have a great form-factor for a nice webpad, a nice ebook.

      I've seen nothing to suggest that anyone has that working yet...

      Microsoft is well on the way to introducing hand-writing recognition in one of their upcoming OS's, which is one reason they are rolling these out now. I think there is more information about this technology on [].
      • One other good usage of tablet PCs is in the aviation industry. Moving map GPS, combined with weather reports, sectional charts, etc - this is a great replacement for a pilot's kneeboard.

        A lot of this is already possible with PDAs, but a tablet PC would give you more processing power combined with a much larger display.
      • MS has had handwriting recognition cince Windows 3.11.

        In fact I have a copy right here.. windows 3.11 for Pen computing.

        it works better than the palm's handwriting recognition. and is from 1989.

        so microsoft doesnt have to work on it, it's already there.
    • The transcriber handwriting recognition on the pcoketpc works great. I use it as a primary means of input.

      Handwriting has worked ever since rosetta back on the newtons.

      And worst case, you always have grafitti.
    • I am sorry to say that Microsoft HWR stuff is probably the best in the entire world.... I hate
      their guts but thats one area where theyll
      be unbeatable for a while... they really put money
      on it and now its really paying off....

      One of the few areas where MSResearch actually does something else than sticking their thumb up their ass.

    • Actually Microsoft has already demonstrated these Tablet PCs with handwriting recognition and they are in the process of rolling handwriting recognition into a future release of Windows XP designed for the Tablet PC named, accordingly, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Not to mention that Microsoft already has some solid handwriting recognition software in their PocketPC devices as well as handwriting recognition in Office XP.

      You also asked how useful these devices could be without handwriting recognition? I'm a graphic designer and I am anxiously awaiting the time when I can buy one of these so I can sketch away from my desktop workstation. I want to be able to see what I am drawing, unlike the experience I have with my Wacom Intuous tablet. While the Intuous is great, I feel disconnected from what I'm drawing. I could either buy one of these devices or the new Wacom Cintiq but then I couldn't draw sitting in the park on a nice day like today.

      I also read. I would like to be able to take an MS eBook or Adobe Acrobat Reader book along with me on the public transportation here in Boston. I would like to read in bed without having to turn on a light behind me or use one of those crappy book lights. Currently my PocketPC fills in for this purpose but it would be nice to have a larger screen and a laptop computer just doesn't interest me; not with these Tablet PCs around the corner.
    • I stand corrected on the HWR issue. I wasn't, however, Trolling - I was attempting to make a humorous comment, which seems to have been missed by certain moderators.


  • by v4mpyr ( 185039 )
    Good to see Transmeta getting a deal like this; we can only hope it actually works out. Publicity like this is exactly what the company needs to take back some of the market from Wintel ®.

    (mmm. 1GHz in a tablet sounds mighty tasty).
    • I have a 100mhz 486 tablet computer. I thought that I could keep it in my backpack and have loads of linux fun at school. I was wrong.

      I am a coder; give me a c-compiler, a decent text editor, and I'm happy. Hell, give me a 4mhz calculator with a meg and a half of ram and an RPL interpreter and I'll be happy. But I need a keyboard. It is painfully slow to program on a calculator keyboard, and a virtual keyboard is so muc worse. I would be willing to trade my tablet for an equivalent lappie anyday.
  • by jukal ( 523582 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @03:42PM (#3633281) Journal
    I really hope they (and some others) can make the breakthrough, the processor market really needs some fresh new competition. Even though AMD and Intel are "battling", the fight is still, despite of the press - done in Intel's universe. See this article [] from turn of 2001.

    But, when we see real pressure from multiple directions, we might see these companies develop something truly revolutionary, currently they don't have to - they just don't. A market situation in which Intel would have only around 40% slice, would nurture much more speedy development.
    • transmeta has created a good nitch. but, as a company you have to shift a lot of processors to make a decent profit. tmta has about $400M in debt, and a market cap of slightly less. those are some difficult straights for a company with less than a $100M in income. I imagine that they will be bought out and the tech will go on to influence others... the best result is likely to be the creation of a heterogeneous computing environment.
  • Market (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mongoks ( 540017 )
    The only market I can see for this thing is the people who want to take notes in meetings and be able to upload them to their PC. Didn't the CrossPad try this already and fail? The only way people might use this is if they could detach their laptop screen and use it as such. It won't sell on it's own. Bittersweet for Transmeta because they got the business but too bad it's going to be a flop. Not even mentioning that MS is writing the software.
  • Pictures here? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @04:00PM (#3633440) Journal
    Found this large picture on Microsoft's Tablet PC image gallery []:

    Compaq Tablet PC Design Concept []

    Here is Compaq's page [] which talks about this thing.

    (Remember kids, it's not karma-whoring if you're already at 50.)
  • It's good to see Transmeta snaggin some big contracts down. After the couple sony models with the transmeta chip it seemed as if the company was going down hill fast. It would be sad to see a cool company like transmeta go, so let's all go out buy web pads now :)
  • Maybe I'm stupid, but for anything that a tablet would be useful for...what do you need all of that power for?

    A little offtopic, but I'd be really happy if someone would come out with a cheap, lcd, even if text only, telnet 'terminal' that could plug right into the network, not even wireless, for $50 DHCP or static addressing, DNS, telnet, nothing else. I'd buy a few of those. Fast power-on would be the key. Many times I want to just check the mail on my main server at home without having to power up the main box. I can use the palm pilot, sure, but the limited display and lack of keyboard are a PITA.

    • this would likely soak up every extra bit of processing power available. does anybody know what the advantages to code-morphing might be in pattern recognition software? i am curious as to whether transmeta actually has an advantage here.
      • The advantage is that you can run any software compiled for x86 you want. So you can do what ever pattern recognition you can write or buy. Code morphing isn't magic... its just a way to run software.
    • If you can produce a 1ghz processor cheaply, why bitch about it being too powerful? You can run advanced handwriting recognition and speech recognition software. You might be able to make games. The stylus could make sniping an even more intuitive activity.

      Look at the opportunities, man.
  • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @04:23PM (#3633641) Homepage
    That's the problem with these types of devices--they are still way out of reach of most users pricewise. Granted, the articles don't mention price, but you can be sure that based on similar products available today, it will probably sell for between $1500 and $2500--way too high for the average user.

    All I want is a wireless, tablet-sized device that will allow me to surf the web from anywhere in my house, wirelessly connecting to my LAN, and I would like to see it for below $1000. I don't need Windows XP, I won't be playing games or doing video production on this thing! I just want to surf the web!
  • That Evo should really be pronounced Evil.
  • by gdyas ( 240438 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @04:32PM (#3633735) Homepage

    ...go for Fujitsu's P-2000 Laptop [] with a 7-hour high capacity battery, DVDROM, and a wireless LAN card.

    IMO, pads do and shall always suck, primarily because of the inherent frailty of an exposed screen. Sure, the screens on notebooks fail all the time too, but at least when not used they're folded shut & semi-protected. In this specific comparison, I see no reason to use some frail theoretical webpad when I can rely on existent notebook technology to carry around a computer so fucking small (10.6"(w) x 7"(d) x 1.59"(h)), smaller than the form design for most webpads, that lets me do anything my desktop does.

    And everyone seems to bitch about wanting a "more natural" interface. From an anthropological perspective, there is no "more natural", there's just what you're used to -- the human animal can express ideas in multitudes of ways, and when it come to writing what I'm used to is thinking as I type about 90wpm. Writing with a pen on a notepad anymore feels feels like I've got a 25mph governor on a Ferrari. It's infuriating, and it doesn't get any better when you're dealing with some shit handwriting software - I haven't seen a single handwriting recognition program that wasn't a bitch to use and didn't make constant mistakes. Blah blah Graffiti blah blah - Graffiti isn't handwriting recognition software in the true sense of the term. Too many hardware people are obsessed with producing something because they thought of it in a Star Trek wet dream. People LIKE the keyboard. Look at the Blackberry. Look at the new Handspring Treos. How many people still peck at the keyboard with the stylus on their Palm PDAs? We have PDA makers trying to fit keyboards into tiny-ass PDAs & phones, people like them so much. Except for a few niche areas webpads are still a product looking for a market. Except for being bigger and having less battery life, what is a webpad going to do that a good color PDA doesn't? I may be being contrary, but these are serious questions that manufacturers need to consider before going to market with another damned Audrey [].

    No electronic pad has ever been made so far that didn't suck. Who knows? Maybe I'll be proved wrong, but I think the notebook is always going to be a league ahead of the notepad, and for the reasons above. Until I see a pad that alot of people prefer to notebooks, it's still vapor.

    • Possible fix? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rapett0 ( 92674 )
      Ok, I been wondering, remember those desks that have the rolldown top? Why do the tablet/pad makers not implement exactly the same thing? It would be such an easy fix and greatly improve the chances of the screen surviving bumps, etc. Is it an asthetic concern? I am sure someone can make it look good. Also, I am patenting this if no one has done it haha :)
    • Threre a couple Tablet PC designs which mimic the Vadem Clio HPC device. The screens on these devices flip up to work much like a regular laptop and they can flip around, covering the keyboard for pen input. The monitor can then close much like a laptop protecting the screen from harm. Granted, not all Tablet PCs will follow this form factor design but a few will.

      Also, I would wager that one will be able to purchase a special case much like you can purchase laptop and PDA cases today. I'm sure there won't be nay problems being able to properly protect these devices either direct from the manufacturers or through third parties.
  • by condour75 ( 452029 ) on Monday June 03, 2002 @04:42PM (#3633807) Homepage
    Well i don't know -- i think this is more futurism-wish-fulfillment than actual good design. There are several downsides to the tablet form factor:

    1. Suddenly your input area costs beaucoup power, since it's a display.

    2. handwriting, at its fastest, is still very slow compared to typing.

    3. almost every child knows how to use a qwerty keyboard already -- who are we appeasing by removing the keyboard, except possibly boomers who haven't had to type since college?

    4. display is always exposed to elements, rough handling, etc.

    5. ergonomics are terrible; this thing will need to be peered down at and then written on. Will the user put it at a diagonal? will it have some sort of stand?

    I'm sure y'all can think of others. The prime benefit, i guess, is being able to use a stylus directly on the surface you're viewing. Doesn't sound worth it to me, a Faustian bargain at best.
  • HP made crap computers before the merger, but can't help and marvel at Compaq's technologies. I think that as far as for business applications, Compaq has been THE leader of the pack for years.

    Too bad the thing won't run Linux native tho. (Does Linux even support something like this?)

  • I do NOT know what is the great deal about handwriting recognition... I mean, have anyone here ever used any implementation thereof (beside the funky palm "learn another alphabet" deal...
    so far, natural language recognitions i have used has been sketchy at best (and yes i am using "award winning" ones)... same is to be said about the chinese version, for those who are interested.

    EVEN IF such a tablet is to be used as a browser -- still once in a while i need to type in addrs -- if you argue that i would have everything book-marked -- well, at least you need to type in search phrases! and instead of wasting 3 minutes to type (or say) "" (imagine how the voice recognition will totally botch this up -- thanks Taco), it would be much faster to just type it out; and i don't mean on-screen keyboard picking tiny buttons with a stylus deal -- With the current technology: slow and sketchy handwriting recognition, even more sketchy voice recognition, and not-so-precise touch screen, i do not see how such a product would fly and make my life easier -- especially if there is a grand worth of premium. i mean, browsing of the couch is nice, but i can do the same thing with a laptop right now ANYWAY... and as mentioned above, i do not see why i would waste all the extra time inputting addresses / whatever.

    furthermore, usually i think people type faster than they write, even those who are not all THAT good at typing... I type ~60wpm (used to be 90, but speed hasn't picked up since switched to Dvorak) -- so i would have a 2-3x speed advantage if i wanted to work on a document on the couch using a laptop vs using a tablet (even it if had 100% accuracy and zero recognition delays)... so...

    where is the advantage again? (besides being "neat?")

    p.s. Vadem Clio (sharp tri-pad) can do all of this, by the way -- before any of you go spend a fortune on one of the HP/CPQ offerings, get a clio from ebay that does everything the new tablets offer, and see if it really means an easier life -- and the clio HAS a keyboard...

    so... on the other hand -- keep america rolling by spending money on un-necessary stuff...
    • Actually, I thought the handwriting recoqnition on the latest rev of WinCE was pretty good. I didn't even have to re-learn how to write, I just had to be a little bit clearer (but that goes for humans reading my writing too :) ). -s
  • Could the tablet architecture be a pre-mature effort on the part of MS to speed up the development of an alternative user interface that they believe the OSS world can't compete with?

    Others here have pointed to OSS efforts regarding handwriting recognition, but it seems to me that given their huge R&D budget, a highly complex and refined user interface could be just the thing MS uses to further the dominance of their OS architecture.

    Let's face it -- as much as I love Linux -- the refined nature of the Windows shell (which drives me batty but doesn't my parents) is something a lot of people won't give up for the switch to *nix (see excitement regarding Aqua).

    Could this be their intended killer-app? I personally don't think it will work, but should they strike this ball out of the stadium (meaning, delivering a fine technical and user-oriented platform at a particularly appealing price), could this be a serious threat?

    One other thing to note -- true Linux advocates tend to be command line junkies. I can type much faster than I can use the mouse. I can easily remember nice complicated command line arguments and do what I need with precision and speed. The average mouse-dependent sysadmin might love a tablet for configuring ISS... not sure we'll ever have an interface to use point and click to configure DNS, Apache, etc (OS X developments notwithstanding).
  • That is one of the most important aspects of any tablet IMHO. Whatever magic Transmeta do with their code-morphing and low transistor count, is a 1GHz processor really going to allow the machine to be operated for more that, say, 3 hours?

    Previous review I have seen of cute Crusoe based machines (e.g. Somy C1 Picture Book) have said that the battery life is better than an average laptop, but hardly astonishing - a gain of something like 20%.

    That is definitely the biggest disadvantage of machines such as the Compaq Ipaq already, and I don't see that putting a 1GHz processor in is going to help.

  • What makes these guys think that a device larger than the old Newton is going to hit it big? All the old whining about the newton was that it was too big! Has Bill Gates lost his marketing touch this year or what? Xbox, new Newton, XP. All a big bunch of crap. I think M$ hired the Apple marketing department when they invested in the company. Not that I'm complaining or anything. If they just keep it up for a few years (crossing fingers) they will pull an Apple and fade into tech hell (we can dream, can't we). I guess they'll go down kicking and screaming, after all they have 40 billion in the bank, or whatever.
  • If I wanted computing power, I'd stay at my desk. I don't want to spend 3 times more to do 2 times less than I can on my desktop workstation. Not even if i had a beowulf cluster of them.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
    They've had tablet pc's for years.. I have the origional a Dauphin DTR-1 built back in 1989. and EVERY time they make them the tablet pc becomes a complete flop.

    Why? people dont want them, not for the insane prices they are asking. If you can make me a tablet web browesr that has a pcmcia slot has a smallish (800x600) LCD that is clear and readable in the dark as well as full-direct-sunlight. I dont want the ability to run java, javascript, flash, or other crap like that. just render HTML 4.0 and it has to cost less than $400.00

    otherwise the product will be an utter failure.

    This is nothing but history repeating it's self.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.