7 July 2002
At this year's TECHXNY show, Microsoft demonstrated several products that might just give us a glimpse into the future of computing. These included new prototype Tablet PC designs from Fujitsu PC Corp., Acer and Toshiba, as well as application software for the Tablet PC from software developers Corel Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and FranklinCovey/Agilix. They also announced SAP AG as the latest major software developer to support the Tablet PC initiative. SAP is evaluating solutions for SAP mobile users to take advantage of the Tablet PC's digital ink technology. MS also demonstrated Microsoft Reader 2.5, the latest version of the company's on-screen reading application, which brings the benefits of immersive and active reading to the Tablet PC through its large display and high-resolution display capabilities.
Within the next 30 days, prototype Tablet PCs with the beta version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional Tablet PC Edition will be deployed in several customer locations. Final products are expected to begin shipping on Nov. 7.
Here are a few of the announcements made by manufacturers in support of the Tablet PC.
Corel - Corel previewed a prototype for a new software application the company is developing for use with Microsoft's Tablet PC platform. This new prototype application, called Project Coligo, is designed specifically for information workers in an enterprise setting who conduct most of their day-to-day functions away from their desktops. Using Corel's solution in conjunction with a Tablet PC, sketches drawn "on the fly" can be instantly transformed into technically-precise graphical images and annotated through a collaborative workflow involving multiple users. Built with pen-based interactions in mind, this application delivers a user interface that is easy to navigate without the use of a mouse or keyboard. Corel is using Microsoft's C# language and the .NET framework in its development efforts for this initiative, which will give users the potential to leverage powerful .NET capabilities as a key part of this solution.
Motion Computing - Motion Computing's first product, a sleek, slate-like Tablet PC, is based on extensive usability research, industrial design expertise, world-class alliances and a management and design team with technology-integration experience from companies such as Dell, Apple, Compaq and Fujitsu. The product, along with an extensive line of peripheral products, is scheduled for availability later this year in conjunction with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Digital inking, handwriting recognition and voice capabilities offer significant improvements over today's methods of capturing and exchanging information. These advanced features complement Motion's pioneering efforts in a new, ultra-mobile product category that will offer long battery life, full-sized displays with high resolution, built-in wireless communications and ergonomic designs that are thin, light and durable.
VIA Technologies - The compact VIA Tablet PC design combines an innovative 'digital ink' system with a convenient 10.4" electro-magnetic digitizer portrait screen to form the ultimate digital notepad, with universal applications for knowledge workers and leisure users. Less than one inch thick and weighing just over one kilogram, the VIA Tablet PC design is considerably lighter and less bulky than a conventional laptop, yet supports the full functionality of Microsoft Windows XP as well as a full range of cutting edge connectivity features including USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, infra-red and optional 802.11b wireless support.
The VIA Tablet PC design utilizes an array of VIA's low power technologies, including a choice of the VIA C3 E-series EBGA or VIA Eden ESP processors, as well as the high performance VIA Apollo Pro266T DDR SDRAM chipset that optimizes the lower voltage and greater bandwidth of DDR SDRAM memory. This technology integration not only ensures longer battery life and quieter operation, but also reduces system cost and enhances compatibility and reliability.