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Portables Hardware

Tablet PCs Enter Reality 297

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like Tablet PCs are finally hitting real-world budgets. Averatec released a Tablet PC with an AMD Athlon XP-M 2200+ processor and will be at Costco and Staples for $1349. Here is a link to a photo overview where you can see how the pen snaps into the LCD area when not in use, what the touchpad looks like, and quite a few other pictures." Element Computer seems to have radically changed their business model -- I had hoped they'd succeed with their $999 VIA-based tablet.
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Tablet PCs Enter Reality

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh wow, I sure am glad I can spend over $1000 to buy something that offers no services over a pda that I would want to use on the go. Unless of course you're talking about laptop-type activities, in which case, the laptop is the natural choice..
    • These aren't meant to replace PDA's or regular laptops. I haven't done the market research, but I'm sure there are niche markets for these. That would explain the higher price. I'm interested in seeing where this goes in the future.
    • Oh wow, I sure am glad I can spend over $1000 to buy something that offers no services over a pda that I would want to use on the go. Unless of course you're talking about laptop-type activities, in which case, the laptop is the natural choice.

      Yeah, 'cause if you don't like it, Mr. AC, then it must be CRAP. I have wanted these to evolve into a reasonably priced product for a while now. It would be nice to be able to pull something out of a bag, and type(write) out a letter, or watch a TV program while o

      • "Yeah, 'cause if you don't like it, Mr. AC, then it must be CRAP. I have wanted these to evolve into a reasonably priced product for a while now."

        Yeah, but do you consider $1300+ reasonable?

        I don't. Even full featured laptops are down below $1000 now. When I can go into a retail store and find one of these things that are on display for the public to play with and not BROKEN, I'll think about it. Otherwise, for a device that is likely to have to be thrown away every few years (what's your guess abou
    • I can't get to the article but frankly I don't see much use for a tablet PC for general use. For some industries they may fit their needs perfect and for surfing the web they may be fine. But if i'm carrying around something the size of a laptop i'm going to want a keyboard to type.

      I have a PDA and its painfull to use a stylus or the little keyboard map to type in messages. Maybe they integrate those virtual keyboards into them.. then if you want to type all you have to do is find a flat surface.

    • >Oh wow, I sure am glad I can spend over $1000 to buy something that offers no services over a pda that I would want to use on the go
      >
      I don't know about you, but the fact that it is many times larger then a PDA and runs all my apps/games is a good enough selling point (at least for me to buy one used off eBay ;)).

      Oh, and the fact that "chicks dig tablets!" for some reason. I can't use the thing for more then 10 minutes without some lady asking "Ohhhh, what's that?". Try that with your little Pal

    • by Donoho ( 788900 )
      ...offers no services over a pda that I would want to use on the go. Unless of course you're talking about laptop-type activities, in which case, the laptop is the natural choice.

      I almost agree. Despite the hype thrown behind the tablet PC, I consider it to be, at best, an evolution of the laptop. That's not a bad thing.

      I bought the Toshiba Protege M200 [toshibadirect.com] when it came out and was really excited. Within a couple of months, I was using only it's laptop functionality 90% of the time. However, it's that
    • Truth be told, if I had the cash I'd be snapping one of these up in no time. The biggest use that I've found for a tablet is during meetings with co-workers. As an engineer, I find myself drawing diagrams to explain things all the time. Being able to just draw on the screen to do this or to explain a drawing would be great! Plus, once you're finished drawing said explanation, if you need it you can save a screenshot or just erase the drawing and move on. Plus it saves a whole mess of paper that I'd jus
  • Gateway (Score:2, Informative)

    by halo1982 ( 679554 ) *
    While the Averatec is priced right, for the extra cash I rather have one of Gateway's line of Tablet PCs [gateway.com]. They're about $400 more, but you get the Gateway name and warranty (although I'm not quite sure how much that is worth these days). Also they use Pentium Ms which have better battery life over the XP-Ms. However if you're on a budget, this system looks nice.
    • Re:Gateway (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:25PM (#9764041)
      Good to see that you're supporting the newest stupid pyramid scheme with your dig there... way to go!
    • Re:Gateway (Score:3, Informative)

      by Galvatron ( 115029 )
      Or you could just order them directly from Motion Computing [motioncomputing.com], since that's where Gateway gets them from. It was about $100 cheaper that way back when I bought mine, and I've been quite happy with it.
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:18PM (#9763957)
    Due to its Linux-based OS (sound like a Lycoris offshoot). Plus it's below $1000.
  • Its still big and bulky. Might as well cary a laptop. Handheld could be so much more usefull and still be smaller in size.
    • I've got a handheld, and I'd really like one of these tablets. Mainly because I'm finishing my degree, but they're nice for web surfing, and they run pretty much all standard software. My handheld is nice, but surfing the web on it is a pain, and the small screen makes taking handwritten notes more difficult than I'd like. I was skeptical about the tablets myself, but supposedly Microsoft is working on a special Handwriting-driven User Interface for Longhorn for use on Tablets, and that seems interesting.
      • You're saying it's good to get a tablet now because supposedly MS is working on a nice feature for it for a future version of windows? MS are the people who invented vaporware.Remember windows 93..I mean 94 1/2...I mean 95?

        Also, if you buy the hardware now, you'll be paying the MS tax now, and then you'll have to pay for a windows upgrade later. It seems more like to follow your advice we should avoid a tablet today.


    • you look at it the wrong way, its a laptop that can double as a
      tablet pc.

      Reasons why its good:

      1. as a tablet pc you can turn it to make the screen be more
      like page of paper (automatic ebook), but unlike handheld
      it will have a good resolutions

      2. as a tablet pc with touch sensitivity you can now paint
      and see results on same 'canvas'. Handhelds are too
      small, usb tablets are cumbersome

      3. and then, this is a laptop.

      why are people thinking: great, someone made a hand held that
      is no longer
  • by Grand ( 152636 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:19PM (#9763965)
    http://www.averatec.com/notebooks/C3500.htm
  • You mean... there are people that actually care about these things?
  • Cheaper? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NETHED ( 258016 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:20PM (#9763977) Homepage
    While it's true that they are getting far less expensive since when they came out, they are still out of range for me. I would LOVE to have a pen based tablet to take notes on while in class (at university), but I don't want it to be my primary computer. I'm too poor (need beer money) to spend all that money on an overpriced notebook. Anybody have any ideas?
    • by bedouin ( 248624 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:27PM (#9764059)
      I believe this [shhh.org] is exactly what you're looking for. The price is right too.
    • Re:Cheaper? (Score:3, Funny)

      by duckpoopy ( 585203 )
      Two ideas:

      1. Typing lessons.

      2. Pen-based legal pad.

    • You still write? I can't even read my own handwriting any more.
    • Yes, yes, mock the poor boy. Tell him to buy a legal pad. Fine.

      But that ignores the fact that his is a really cool idea, in that far-distant-future kind of way.

      Did you guys watch the Apple video of the Tiger demo, the one where they previewed their Spotlight search technology? Spotlight provides a service for indexing and searching not only metadata about your files but the content of the files themselves.

      Stretch the idea a little. You take notes in class. Asynchronously (to keep CPU and power requiremen
  • Slashdotted... (Score:5, Informative)

    by PaintyThePirate ( 682047 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:21PM (#9763983) Homepage
    The site is already slashdotted, but I assume it is this tablet [kstati.com] that was announced a few months ago. It's nice to see that companies are already using AMD's 1.35v Mobile Athlons.
  • Real world budgets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But will they see any real world use? When a pc is in the sub $1000 range and laptops are roughly the same price will there be much demand. Also is there really a demand for the home user. I can see a small percentage of business/industrial users having a reason for these, but enough to warrant selling them at costco and staples?
    • The reason they sell them at Costco at least, is that the Costco warehouses use them in receiving. Apparently tablet pcs work well enough for Costco that they don't have a problem selling them. Plus, Costco has always been about selling higher-end* items, so that fits in with their philosophy. This is still somewhat surprising, as their computer buyer has historically been clueless when it comes to technology, maybe this is a sign that someone new is deciding what computer equipment to purchase for sale in
  • What About Heat? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#9763993) Homepage Journal
    Other than the cost, one of my concerns was the amount of heat a tablet pc generates while in use. I was looking into them for use by nurses collecting research data. But after trying a few out about a year ago and noticing how they heat up, I didn't think the nurses would be too happy.

    Still it's good to see the price come down. But I still wonder when Dell is going to get into the act.
  • Just a Giant PDA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LehiNephi ( 695428 )
    It seems to me that a tablet PC is really aimed at a market that is small-to-non-existant. As far as I can tell, the main selling point for tablet PCs (the ability to write on the screen like a notepad) is duplicated in PDAs. In fact, the only reasons to get one instead of a PDA are 1) it's more like a computer (HD, faster CPU, more RAM) and 2) a larger screen.

    Tablet PCs, instead of becoming the indispensable laptop-and-PDA killers they were touted to be, instead combine the worst features of both laptop
    • The ability to draw on the screen is pretty nice, and PDA screens are too small to be useful for much of that. A tablet PC hooked up to a projector is like a whiteboard with cut-and-paste and a Save button, pretty useful for engineering brainstorming meetings.
    • Re:Just a Giant PDA (Score:2, Interesting)

      by firebat162 ( 463459 )
      I would think a big market for the Tablet PC's are for teaching/educational/demonstration purposes.

      At my university, a lot of the professors are switching to Tablet PC's and writing on their powerpoint slides instead of fiddling with the overheads.

      The professors can save the notes they wrote on the powerpoint slides and make them available to students online. Try doing this with either a PDA or a traditional laptop... it's possible, but difficult.
    • Re:Just a Giant PDA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dielectric ( 266217 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:32PM (#9764108)
      Actually, my company is deploying these en-masse now. We use them on customer visits for lots of things, like block diagram sketches. You can also write directly on a PDF or other doc, then send that to a co-worker with all your notes intact. It's very cool. A PDA just doesn't have the screen size to enable this stuff, and the cost is marginally higher than for a laptop. Only field guys get them, because a regular suit just doesn't need the functionality.
    • Huh? What are yout talking about? Have you ever used one?
      My TC1100 from HP is as powerful as a laptop and much lighter. Sure, the screen is smaller, but I can do exactly EVERYTHING I could do on my laptop with it. As a sysadmin, it is wonderful for remote connections and, when I do need a keyboard, it is right there. And it is lighter than most notebooks.

      I think that you will see that in the future, more and more laptops will add the functionality of the tablet- Physical rotation, writing on screen, e
    • It seems to me that a tablet PC is really aimed at a market that is small-to-non-existant. ...
      Tablet PCs, instead of becoming the indispensable laptop-and-PDA killers they were touted to be, instead combine the worst features of both laptops and PDAs. What results? Low-performance, too much weight (ie less-portable), short battery life, and high price.

      It's new consumer technology, what do you expect? You want to bury it before it's hardly begun to mature. The cost may be prohibitive, but aren't recent
    • Re:Just a Giant PDA (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Billobob ( 532161 )
      I don't know about you, but I would much rather read a book on a small-ish tablet PC than a PDA. The tablet screen, due to the way images are displayed on it, also simply feels more like reading an actual book. So, if I wanted to read an ebook in public, I would much rather have a tablet/laptop than a pure laptop.
    • They do seema bit like PDAs - and from the people that want to draw on a full-sized screen, it seems much nicer to hook a Wacom Cintiq [wacom.com] lcd tablet (not tabletPC) up to a powerful laptop so you get good performance and a less bulky drawing surface. I've seen these in action with Photoshop and they are really, really nice.
    • It doesn't matter. Eventually the cost of the digitizing screen will be a tiny incremental cost and all laptops will be "tablet PCs". Much like the little eraser pointer thing, the microphone jack, the floppy drive (still!), and the infrared port, it will be there and only a fraction of the people that buy a laptop will use it.

      For those that use it, they have to have it. For those that don't, they buy it anyway.

      Tablet PCs are positioned like a clip board, but they're much heavier and more fragile than
    • "It seems to me that a tablet PC is really aimed at a market that is small-to-non-existant."

      I suppose that depends on how you perceive computing to be in the future.

      Right now, we have servers, desktops, laptops, tablets and pdas/phones as form factors for computing powerthat we use. Do you really see that being the case 20, 50 years from now? I want voice activation, handwriting recognition, tactile feedback, touchscreens, I don't want to have to flip open my 19" Sony Vaio and use a touchpad and keyboar
    • Parents arguments against Tablet PCs:
      - Low-performance
      - too much weight (ie less-portable)
      - short battery life
      - high price
      - PDA + laptop combo is cheaper

      @Low performance:
      Just not true. Convertible Tablet PCs are equipped with the best mobile CPUs available (Pentium-M 1.8 GHz +). Most slates have a Ultra Low Voltage Pentium-M, some have normal Pentium-M up to 1.4 GHz.

      @Weight:
      True for the biggest convertibles (up to 3kg and more). But the lightest slates are really mobile.

      @Short Battery Life:
      Thanks to Pent
  • by pctainto ( 325762 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#9764000) Homepage
    Everytime I hear about tablet pcs on /. people post about 'using it for linux' and 'can you run linux on it' and everything. Now, I understand this is slashdot, but is it not missing the point of a tablet pc? The only reason that I see to spend more money on a tablet pc is to get the advantages of the handwriting recognition and to do interactive presentations. As far as I know, Linux either does not have the tools necessary to take advantage of this, or what is out there isn't as good as the windows counterpart. I have teachers at school that are absolutely amazing with the tablet pc and lecturing, but everything they use is ms-centric.

    Is there anything out there for Linux that makes a tablet PC worthwhile? I would love to look at someone's post about Linux on tablet pc and say "yes, that would be worth it" but right now all I have to say is you're wasting your money.

    • That doesn't mean there's no reason to make it available.

      What's really needed is a sort of open source TabletBIOS -- a basic nanokernel (Mach-based? FreeDOS-based? A hack of GRUB or LILO?) that provides very basic OS services and drivers for the tablet screen, even if it's nothing more than a proof-of-concept.

      Truth be told I'm surprised there's no demand for a lightweight Open Source nanokernel. I'd do it myself if I knew what I was doing.
    • The tools are there. Touchscreen support has been available for years now, and IBM had Chinese handwriting recognition software available back in 2001. There's nothing really exotic here, all it needs is vendor support to help it gel in a user friendly way. Yes it can (and probably will) happen without support, but it'll happen faster and better with it.
    • You're right. The magic in the Tablet is the software...using handwriting recognition and ink in your apps (along with a rich support infrastructure for developers to write Tablet-aware applications). Just throwing Linux on one gets you a laptop running linux with an extra mouse device (if you have drivers that work).

    • If Linux doesn't run on it, then there's no point doing a toolkit/API for pen-based computing in Linux.

      What you should be asking is where are the patches for Blender to put touchscreen to some serious use? How about those Mozilla gestures? There are *tons* of bits of Linux' mouse and UI code which can benefit from touchscreen.

      I don't, personally, care for Linux always following the money. Hardly any of the innovation in Linux came about for 'market control' reasons, a fact non-Linux'ers and Linux'ers a
    • I would think it would be for artists using Photoshop or some other graphical blandisher -- especially if the touchscreen is pressure-sensitive. All the advantages of a fancy touch tablet, but directly on the screen.
  • Neato. (Score:4, Funny)

    by chickygrrl ( 260785 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#9764001) Homepage
    Now I can stop sketching on scrap paper at work.
  • Picture (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tovaris ( 122812 )
    Try: http://www.shipitforyou.com/cgi-bin/sgin0105.exe?U ID=2004071911394006&T1=S850+1043&FNM=24
    for a picture and specs.
  • by noser ( 114367 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:32PM (#9764104)

    We received an HP tablet PC as a free gift with a bunch of switching equipment that we ordered. I'm not sure if it had a model number, it seemed to be some kind of demo unit or something. The overall impression was that it was a toy.

    The handwriting recognition software was not installed on the unit that we received, so the stylus was just used like a mouse. The screen would rotate around so you could use it like a tablet or more like a laptop; it was a little bulky and short on features for any real work.

    For the money I'd rather have one of the new Vaio picturebooks or an ultralight Thinkpad x31 ...

    • "The handwriting recognition software was not installed on the unit that we received"

      Then it wasn't a Tablet PC. MS Tablet PC's have built-in (although not too great) handwriting recognition.

      Although, MS has never made that the selling point. The selling point was that you could edit/doodle your thoughts on already existing documents/email/etc. That's why Onenote was so crucial (and why I wonder they don't ship it as part of the standard Tablet PC software suite).

      Quite frankly, I can't see an executiv
    • All depends what you're going to do with it.

      Another poster mentioned drawing. Basically a digital sketchpad. If that's what you wanted to do, it sounds like this would fit the bill nicely. Apparently Penny Arcade use a tablet PC for their artwork.

      Or someone who needs to take notes while on foot, it could be used like a clipboard and pen. The home inspector who did my inspection comes to mind, he had a cute little laptop, but had to put it down on the floor or do other awkward poses to take notes as we
      • Gabe at Penny Arcade uses Alias Sketchbook Pro (http://www.aliassketchbookpro.com) on a tablet PC for some of his work. I'm always amazed at what talented people can do with the software I write.

        (Sketchbook also runs on a pc or a mac with a wacom tablet -- sorry -- no linux version.)

        Ian Ameline,
        Alias Sketchbook Tech Lead.
  • When they are down to say $600 or less then we can talk. Until then a notebook seems to give you more bang for the buck by far. And what would I use one for that is worth spending over 1000 dollars for?
    • This is the very reason why tablets are evolving into laptopn with a screen the spins around. The base manufacturing cost for that much hardware is too much to create something that big for 600 bucks. well, at this time anyways.

  • What I want is a $400-500 tasked designed device.
    I want 20+ hours of battery life. To get this, I don't need a P4 1.8 + Ghz. I'd take a P2 300 Mhz chip. I'd like it to play dvd's if possible, and be a large screened PDA for display info. I don't want it to try and compete with the next P4 3+ghz desktop or latest laptop offerings. I'd like to plug in my storage media, be it usb key chain to DVDs and cheaply and easily view my content in a form several others can see as well.
  • by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:39PM (#9764193) Homepage
    ...but I can't wait for Apple to release one! (Why hasn't Apple ever tried this? They're the ones that are supposed to innovate!)
    • Usually when Apple doesn't do something, it's because they know it is a bad idea.

    • becasue they can't figure out a way to charge 5000 dollars for it? ;)

      Apple has been very busy with the iPod, they don;t like to saturate the market with lots of new devices. I would wager they will cone out with one, when they can get a good price. I'm sure the recognize the user market for these is probably sub 1200 bucks.
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:39PM (#9764196)
    I've seen quite a lot of adversity directed at Tablet PCs which I really don't understand.

    I've been using a TC1000 since November 2002 and it's an absolutely fabulous piece of hardware. It's the kind of stuff people on the cutting edge of technology should be embracing, and instead of asking what you'd want one for, finding out what you can use it for. Writing on the screen isn't as gimmicky as you'd think - taking notes, annotating diagrams, documents, roughing presentations is incredibly easy. The form factor means you can pull one out in a meeting without hiding behind a laptop screen, you can pass it around more easily to show people ideas and you can get information into it quicker.

    To put it bluntly, since buying a new laptop - because I started to believe that it was a gimmicky toy - I am really missing the tablet functions and realise that I was wrong. Sure, my new laptop is faster, bigger, better, etc. etc. but the tablet functions just opened up a new way of using a PC that I really miss now. I can't comfortably lie in front of the TV and work, and note-taking isn't as easily transferred to emails, document etc. Before I could quite happily rough a document outline up in a meeting and have it mailed off by the end to all present. Can't do that with a laptop, or handwritten notes come to think of it. So, they aren't just giant PDAs, they're a new platform that needs to be exploited by apps like OneNote [microsoft.com]. I certainly hope the form-factor succeeds and heaven help us if we're tied to desktops and laptops for the foreseeable future, because that would severely cripple the importance of the computer in it.
    • by enjo13 ( 444114 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @06:39PM (#9764802) Homepage
      The form factor means you can pull one out in a meeting without hiding behind a laptop screen, you can pass it around more easily to show people ideas and you can get information into it quicker.

      This is what people don't "get" with tablets. They are PERFECT for situations where collaboration is important. Architects have to love these things (who are constantly manipulating things slightly and sharing that with a customer). Really anything that requires multiple people to look at the same screen is ideal for a tablet. It's not meant to REPLACE a laptop, but rather enable more optimal work in new and different situations.
  • Why I own a tabletPC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greywar ( 640908 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:41PM (#9764213) Journal
    OK I read people saying things about a tabletpc that just arent accurate. It is NOT a overgrown pda...its..well..its a really cool laptop with many of the pda benefits tossed in. So what can I do with it thats so cool you say:

    1. I can read books on it comfortably
    2. I can lay outside and surf the net easily and comfortably
    3. I can use it as a nice picture fram system when im charging it
    4. I can comfortably watch tv on planes during long trips
    5. I can print to its journal our documentation, and then mark it up and highlight it before returning it to our tech department
    6. I can take notes on it without offending people by using a laptop, or being as loud as many laptops
    7. I can start our software, then hand it to a customer with a quick button click to rotate the screen to face them.
    8. I can draw things on graph paper on it
    9. Its easy to carry around and play with while waiting in long lines-you just can't juggle a laptop to do that very well
    10. I can lay in bed and comfortably read.
    11. If you have any graphical book, comic book, whatever-you can display it one page at a time in a nice near paper sized format
    12. Its cool in a nerdy way-what more could any slashdot guy want?

    I have a motion m1300. The one thing most important when choosing one of these is weight. mines around 3 lbs-don't get a larger one weighing more then 3.5 lbs or you won't find it comfortable and easy to use.
    • I concur. My only complaint about the Tablet PC was that the handwriting recognition was awkward, but there is a completely new recognizer in SP2 (I'm running RC2) that makes it so much easier to correct occasional mistakes in recognition.

      I have an HP TC1100 from Overstock.com (this is the second generation with real Centrino and the pressure sensitive Wacom pen that doesn't need batteries). Being a refurb brought the price down into the reasonable range.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You can add the following to your list to:
      1. MS Powertoys - specifically the one that lets you lasso bits of screen and annotate them before emailing them. Before it was 15 minutes in Photoshop with a text tool to do this kind of stuff. Great for helpdesk work.
      2. Speech recognition - YMMV, but for me it works fantasically. Even so, having the microphone built in (when will laptop manufacturers learn?) is great for Skype etc. etc.
      3. OneNote - probably one of the best non-linear information storage programs I've come
    • I would think that the people that don't see the value of these things have no contact with those with artistic talent, and possibly have no artistic talent themselves.

      Think about it. A lot of artists that have to use a computer insist on using a pen / tablet control system. These tablet PCs integrate it right into the screen. How is that not a slick drawing system? CAD types can use it as well. Coders, like a lot of slashdotters, probably don't need it. That doesn't mean that non-coders can't benefi
  • But why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:42PM (#9764218)
    I really don't understand the logic behind tablet PCs as they are currently being marketed. This is not to say there isn't any, but can someone very much in the market, very interested in buying, explain it?

    I love my Ipaq, but I don't understand why I'd want a way bigger, way clunkier version with a desktop OS not intended for its purpose.

    Largely, the main intended purpose of the Tablet PC seems to be to get WinXP (or an XP-a-like mod thereof) onto as small a form factor as possible.

    So the question is, why do you want XP on a form factor the characteristics of which are inclined to diametrically oppose themselves to XP's own defining qualities? I'm not just trashing XP for its being an MS OS. PPC2003 doesn't really bother me as a handheld OS. But I am asking why an OS/GUI for a not at all comporable machine could ever be expected to function ideally as the OS for all form factors and functions no matter how different.

    And why does a tablet PC need anything even remotely close to an AMD 2200+ processor? Are people intending to do high end CG renders on these things? Cinematic quality video-edits?

    I guess if you wanted and absolutely would not settle for anything other than the most recent, bloated, processor-intensive desktop version of Office available under XP with all the bells and whistles turned on and for some extremely hard to discern reason wanted to use it on a tablet, you might need a 1GHz machine, but far more?

    What's the rationale for this being a mass market device?
    • I work in autonomous robotics research. The robots run wirelessly, but we capture and display mapping data in real time, currently on laptops as we follow them. If we want to direct the machine to a place of interest, we click a position on the map and it drives itself there, avoiding obstacles etc.

      The processing and memory requirement for generating these maps from laser and other sensory data is VERY intense. An athlon 2200 would be perfect for the job.

      At the moment, walking around with a laptop and
  • A Book on tablets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gtrubetskoy ( 734033 ) * on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:43PM (#9764238)
    There is a pretty interesting book on how the first tablet computer came about by Jerry Kaplan called "Startup". They came up with the idea of a pen-based computer while flying on Mitch Kapor's private jet, and started a company called GO. This was back in the 80's I believe. Here is a link [amazon.com] - you can read the reviews for more info.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:49PM (#9764286)
    Three sentences that are logically inconsistent:
    1. This statement is false.
    2. Your government is here to protect you.
    3. This Slashdot link goes to a page of photos.
  • I really liked my brothers tablet pc and the handwriting software has really gone far. I could write a paragraph without having to correct one word. The only prolbems I had with it was that it refused to write mathmatical equations. Since I'm an engineer that basically rendered it useless for me. Other than that it was very nice and even the voice software worked well. FYI he had a toshiba model running the windows XP tabel OS. I'm not sure of the exact model number.
  • Uses for a tablet PC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @05:58PM (#9764362)
    Other than drawing-related tasks, I've never thought tablets were good for much. However, I was in a hospital elevator with a pharmaceutical company salesperson a couple of days ago and she whipped a small tablet PC (about 8 inch screen, I'd guess) from her purse, popped out the stylus and started tapping and scribbling away. It was running XP. Apparently she was able to document her last sales call and check her to-do list between the 5th and 21st floor. It was obvious she was accustomed to using it in short bursts, whenever she had, literally, 90 seconds to spare. I thought it was kinda neat, actually.

    When a tablet is used like this, as a sort of super PDA, I'm sure it's more readable and, for some, more comfortable. I'm not sure I'd have any use for one of them, but I no longer think of tablet PCs as silly and useless devices. For some people, obviously, they're the bees knees.
  • On Ebay you can find plenty of old, inexpensive tablet computers. They're fine for most things people want computers for.
  • At our medical clinic, we have an Electronic Medical Records system, which the clinical staff access mainly through handheld computers. Every time there's a new story about tablets, we look into them, and every time we've reached the same conclusion: not yet.

    For our usage, we really like wireless, pen-enabled notebook PCs. While our EMR system [a4healthsystems.com] allows a tremendous amount of data to be entered easily with a point-and-click interface, nurses and docs still need to do some free-text entry. That pretty much tie
  • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @07:18PM (#9765105) Homepage
    TabletPCs are NOT touch-sensitive. They use EM resonance based pens, so you can lean your arm on the device while you write, or hover over it. Some can even measure the tilt of the pen, or determine the difference between the tip of the pen and the eraser end.

    Element Computer's "tablet", however, has a touch screen like a PDA. It's not even close to a tablet, and would not work like one even if it had the right software.
  • by DrJAKing ( 94556 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @07:36PM (#9765211)
    First Apple release a new ipod, now an article about a laptop with a different kind of hinge. It's all happening at once, I can't keep up.
  • I never used a tablet, but after using a laptop for 6 months now, i could imagine how a tablet would be immensly convienient in crowded areas.
    I always find myself being very concerned with somebody bumping into my laptop when using it on the subway - or anywhere there is people walking by or standing close to you.
  • by AZhole ( 795175 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @08:59PM (#9765826)

    I'm a particle physicist and it seems to me that these tablet PCs might be suitable replacements for the traditional logbook. The idea is that it would be a community tool that can be could be carried around the detector as people fix things (think of a big industrial setting), connect to a database via wireless to log changes, recognize the handwriting for multiple users, embed eps or jpg/png/gif in the log, etc.

    Has anyone used these in an industrial setting? What do you think?

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