Talkin' 'Bout Tablets
LAS VEGAS--To kick off Comdex, Bill Gates came down from Mount Redmond and held aloft the two (actually eight, with more coming soon) tablets to display the handwritten commandments on their screens ("Thou shalt not confuse these with the Newton!"). Comdex attendees trembled and threw aside their false gods--PDAs and notebooks--for the promised device.
Well, not exactly. But after
Microsoft Chairman Gates touted the new platform in
"It definitely has a lot of potential," says Tulkie Massey, director of technology solutions for Lanier Worldwide, an Atlanta manufacturer of copiers, printers, and scanners. Project managers and other mobile employees who do a lot of analysis may find myriad applications for a Tablet PC, Massey suggests.
"And I'm amazed at how far the handwriting recognition has come. You should be doing this interview on one of those--you need a Tablet PC," she says, gesturing to the chicken scratches on my (non-digital) notebook.
The handwriting recognition technology built into the tablets is much
improved over previous iterations, but
attendee Denise Bagley just wishes the tablets used the traditional pen stylus
of a PDA instead of their special electronic stylus. You see, she's the
inventor of the
Bagley hopes her small Salt Lake City firm can someday develop an electronic version of the Comfortstylus for the tablets. In the meantime, she was impressed with the functionality of the tablet devices she tested.
"They're fun and convenient," she said. "They definitely planned well bringing them out this time."
"We're trying to find the nicest product," he says. "For the right type of person, this could be a great tool. It lets you take your work with you and perform on the fly."
Terri Stratton came into the show already well versed in the capabilities of
tablets--she's the editor of
"They all have their place--their good and their bad," she says of the technology.
The slate model, without the keyboard, is much lighter than the convertible model, which can serve as either a laptop computer or, by flipping around the screen, as a thick tablet, in Stratton's assessment.
"But then the Toshiba [convertible] tablet has the fastest CPU at 1.3 GHz," she adds.
"You carry around a notebook if you have to have a keyboard, but nine times out of ten, you don't need it," she says. At a breakfast event she attended that day, the consensus at her table was 'Why should I buy a notebook now?'"
Zeno Staemmer, director of product management for IP communications at Siemens, agrees. Staemmer says he takes notes on paper at meetings and at different locations, and if he needs them later, he often can't find them.
"If I had a Tablet PC, I wouldn't have to worry about that," he said. Since Siemens has a relationship with Fujitsu, which markets the Stylistic 3500 Tablet PC, Staemmer says he'll make some inquiries when he gets back to work.
"The Tablet PC is what I need," he says. Microsoft and the Tablet PC manufacturers are hoping many others who the same way.