Microsoft's long awaited Tablet PC launch
November 8, 2003 An array of new personal computing products from companies including Acer, Toshiba, Fujitsu and HP were unveiled in Sydney on Thursday 8 November as part of the long awaited worldwide launch of the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, a new version of Windows XP Professional with extensive handwriting and voice recognition capabilities. The new generation of Tablet PCs are designed to deliver the full resources of a notebook computer along with the familiarity of the worlds oldest and most successful input device - pen and paper.
"Tablet PCs are a major milestone in mobile computing, bringing more versatility and computing power to more places than ever before," says Alex Loeb, corporate vice president of the Tablet PC division at Microsoft. " The Tablet PC delivers new ways to communicate, collaborate and be productive, vastly extending the ways in which people will work and enjoy their PCs."
"It's important to understand that notebook users don't give up anything when they switch to a Tablet PC," says Loeb. The Tablet PC runs on Microsoft's most powerful operating system. It's also one of the most mobile computers ever developed. There are no compromises with the Tablet PC: It has all the functionality of a traditional laptop, plus more.
That "more" Loeb cites is allowing users to choose how they input and manipulate data. The Tablet PC is built with an electromagnetic screen that allows users to write or draw with a digital pen. The screen digitizes the pen movements and displays them as handwritten or drawn "ink," and makes the hand-scripted text available to a handwriting recognizer, which translates the handwritten words into standard text in typeface.
This text can then be pasted into Microsoft Outlook e-mails, Excel spreadsheets, or Word documents and sent to other Windows-based platforms and devices. A Tablet PC user offers the versatility of more traditional input mechanisms, such as a keyboard or mouse and voice-recognition software can also be used to control applications as well as input text.One of the breakthroughs of the Tablet PC is its support of "ink as ink."
The Tablet PC not only features a highly accurate handwriting recognition engine, but gives users the option of preserving digitised handwritten text as digital ink. Therefore handwritten text on the Tablet PC can send and receive e-mails as handwriting and shorthand notes can be saved as Word files.
Among the new devices based on the new platform unveiled this week were:- Acer's TravelMate C100, a Tablet PC designed for practical use that caters for handwriting and speech input and can be used as a standard laptop or in "tablet" mode via a 180-degree rotating screen.
The Portege 3500 from Toshiba, a convertible Tablet PC that also folds from laptop to "tablet" mode and incorporates "Active Digitiser" technology in the screen to enhance accuracy when using a stylus for input.- The Hewlett-Packard Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 which includes a docking station for use on a desktop and powerful wireless capabilities.