Home > Microsoft > Microsoft Officially Launches the TabletPC Microsoft Officially Launches the TabletPC Eugenia Loli 2002-11-06 Microsoft 41 Comments Microsoft has high hopes for its new specialized operating system for pen-based computing. But a crop of new gadgets based on the OS may have trouble attracting buyers. Read reports at C|Net and eWeek. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 41 Comments 2002-11-06 8:50 pm Even if I had money I see no point in this sinkhole of cash. 2002-11-06 8:51 pm It’s too high. 2000$ to 2500$ + is too much. Needs to drop to 1000$ to be more suitable for consumer. There are also too bulky. It needs to be thinner than a laptop too. 2002-11-06 8:53 pm Their original plans were to launch with much smaller designs with upwards of 8 to 10 hours battery life. However, the technology for that sort of design still isn’t available so until then these things are going to be about the size of thin and light laptops. 2002-11-06 8:55 pm As with every first generation of any hardware, things are expensive and big. Let’s see how this technology will look like in 2-3 years from now… 2002-11-06 9:03 pm that’s the problem: it’s not a first generation of any hardware. These things have existed for years. I remember seeing one running Windows 95. Dang, wish I could remember the URL. HP and other tablet PC makers believe that over time either consumers will be drawn to the devices or notebooks will simply begin to adopt some of the capabilities of Microsoft’s Tablet PC software, such as handwriting recognition. In bold is what’s gonna happen. 2002-11-06 9:15 pm cebit back in 98 ms displayed their tabletpc, it had the orange imac color scheme and ran win95, theyve had a few goes with that one , a friend of mine , webdesigner for ms sweden , had one at one time (sweet little thing) but i still believe the dt300 series is nicer.. but anyway , they need to gain some weight.. metaphorically speaking. interesting technology though.. 2002-11-06 9:37 pm Seems like every three-four years we see these pen based PC’s coming down the pipe, with the first one I remember being the IBM one that ran Windows 3.1 and could at least have a keyboard attached to it to make it useful. I just don’t see them catching on. Despite endless claims to the contrary there are sight few devices that outperform a keyboard in ease of use, accuracy and speed (the last two combined with training or experience). 2002-11-06 11:42 pm Well, if the technologies aren’t here for the thinner, lighter, longer battery life design at this time, then it clearly also says it’s not the right time to truely call them tablet PCs…hence it’s not the right time to buy them. 2002-11-07 12:43 am it’s a good thing MS has that much cash to throw around on questionable projects like this 2002-11-07 12:48 am I hope MS has as much luck as Be did. 2002-11-07 1:44 am I’ve been waiting for something like this for about 5 years. ‘Course, I’m thinking it will be another five until they’re good enough and cheap enough for me to consider buying… 2002-11-07 1:58 am in the short term this thing has flop written all over it but as Eugenia points things might be different in a few years, though i’d put it at more like 4 to 5 years. 2002-11-07 2:37 am I’ve actually used the tablet PC and it is extremely nice. In fact, one day my brother and I were tinkering with one and a crowd grew around us. My brother has also taken it to many meetings where people have gathered and gawked. People interested in carrying their documents while they travel but are frustrated with the size of their notebooks / laptops should take a look at one. So — those of you who have never seen one, never touched one, nor never used one — all of your negative comments will not sway the market. The Tablet PC is very sweet. 2002-11-07 3:50 am @ Ryan: Windows XP Media center also falls into this category too. Who would want to watch DVDs on a 15″ LCD instead of an 27″ TV? @ LPH: Of course your gonna love it. That’s because you are like most people that come to this web site: your a PC junkie Gadgets are fun… For a while then it’s gonna en up in the closet like the rest (ie.: PocketPCs, 32megs MP3 Players etc…) They have no use. <warning rant ahead> Stupid PC industry leaders! Focus on lowering the price of SCSI peripherals not this bloody crap. They have no clue what people need. No clue at all. </rant> 2002-11-07 4:15 am I can type a heck of a lot faster than I can write with a pen. And my handwriting is so awful (because I type all the time) that I don’t think the computer (no matter how smart) could understand what I write, since I can barely ever read what I’ve written. 2002-11-07 4:29 am I am curious and fastinated by the concept. I have a laptop and absolutely hate the keyboard. I am reserving any negative comments until I try one. My only reservation is that what type of configuration is required? Hopefully nothing to the extent of that “Talk & Speak” program. 2002-11-07 6:11 am I’ve used some of these devices. In fact, I have a very close friend who works in Tablet. I have a few responses to Ronald: 2000$ to 2500$ + is too much. Needs to drop to 1000$ to be more suitable for consumer. What are you looking to buy? This device is a fully functional laptop as well as a very slick inking surface. Personally, I have a hard time finding just a laptop which suits my needs for less than $1000. I think the pricing is probably a little high, but not quite so high as you might imagine. Remember, the ‘consumer’ who is being targeted here is big business types who have lots of cash to spend on what is really a meeting enhanced laptop . The writing of text ability of the Tablet is less interesting than it’s ability to mark up (write on top of) text and images, in my book. Of course your gonna love it. That’s because you are like most people that come to this web site: your a PC junkie Well, this is a device I think would be really useful to people with highly mobile lines of work. This includes students, who spend lots of time in class (though the price point is still a bit high for them). I think you’ll find that large corporations begin buying Tablets instead of Laptops for certain individuals. After all, that is the targeted customer. 2002-11-07 10:14 am LMAFO! It’s so true about the hand writing.. Personally I think I think the tablet idea, at least at this point in time, and most likely for the next 5-6 years, is useless (anyone thing G3/Internet enabled mobile phones at the moment?). From a student perspective – unless these tables cost around 90cents and are as light and thing as a cheap A4 notebook, then I’ll stick with paper. Especially if it runs windows XP. Writing on a LCD screen also – you joking right? 2002-11-07 10:42 am Microsoft is running at a fast pace, and as long as they are creating the standard, business will pay the relatively nominal fees for their OS and we will all remain entangled in all of these MS “solutions” because each OS will be designed to complement another OS they’ve created. Are Linux developers keeping up with all these advanced, yet possibly not terribly useful OS ideas? 2002-11-07 2:44 pm They may be too expensive for the home user, but handheld PCs have the full fire-power of laptops that will be useful in the medical, manufacturing and distribution markets, especially with wireless networking. http://crn.channelsupersearch.com/news/crn/38311.asp The medical industry was one of the first to widely adopt the flat panel monitors when they were $4000 a pop for the 14″ ones… Vic 2002-11-07 3:03 pm i don’t know. but writing too much tends to bring a pain in my hands and fingers. typing seems to be easier and faster. plus, when i do get tired, my writing tends to squiggle out of recognition. i’d rather press and get a clear character, than write on a screen for awhile and get pains. i’m sure you could plug a keyboard and mouse in, but then, why not just get a laptop? by the way, are the monitors the same as those found on laptops? i mean the ones with the lcd that, when you press, get funky colors? and what’s battery life and weight like? i don’t think i’d want to carry one. i’d rather have a laptop bag on my shoulders with a real laptop. anything for short notes, i can always use paper and pencil, or my palm. what i really wish for is a semi plastic “paper” that you can erase, smudge free, so that you can use again. something like paper, but a little more durable. 2002-11-07 3:30 pm What I would really like would be for them to change the tactile feel of the screen so it doesn’t feel like the screen of a palm pilot. It seems that a screen like this would feel like one of those electronic signature machines that are creeping into department stores. A film on the screen that would give the same feedback (or something similar, something besides the glassy feel of a regular screen) would make this much more attractive, in my opinion. 2002-11-07 3:38 pm Good point. I never realized that this is why it feels weird to write on a palm or a credit card signature thing. Paper depresses under your force when you’re writing on it. When you write on paper, you know how far your pen is going to travel when you push on it and move it forward. Writing on glassy surfaces is harder because there is no resistance so it’s hard to judge exactly the right pen strokes. 2002-11-07 4:09 pm Ronald, the price is kinda okay considering the laptop/tablet PC isn’t made for the consumer market….. 2002-11-07 4:12 pm Well, there aren’t much stuff that does handwriting recogniction on Linux. The stuff that do are hacks for XFree86 that hardly work. Plus, touch-sensitive screens compatible with Linux hardly exist. I think Linux companies would start investing in these machines once the concept is proven. 2002-11-07 4:34 pm I played with one of these at a MS demo booth about a month ago. WOW!! They are simply amazing. The one I was using had no keyboard, the border around the screen was about 1/4″ and the thing was only 3/8″ thick. There is no distortion of the screen when you write on it. I dont know how they pull it off, but really does work. The comment about writing on slick surfaces is true, but I adjusted to it on my third try. What really amazed me was that it could read my handwriting, something _I_ often have problems with! Yeah, I want one. WhiteRabbit 2002-11-07 5:05 pm They have been hyping this up for 4-5 years now. Frankly, I hate notebooks. All the ones I have used are cumbersome and awkward at anything except a desk or table which defeats the purpose of being mobile. With all the USB 2.0 and firewire devices out now, storage shouldn’t be a problem–External writers are within points of internals right now so the difference is slight but not really important. If I want a keyboard, I’d get an external-something like a Happy Hacker or a mini Fingerworks. Mostly, I want them to start selling the things. The really cool inovations only come after lots of people “use” the device. The first ones will always be bombs. Put something on the shelf and some people will buy it the rest will ask for the features that will make them buy it. Will anyone have one with a Radeon 9000M. I’d be a happy clam! 2002-11-07 5:21 pm I’ll have to see one of these things. I’m still skeptical about not using a keyboard, but then again, before I used a keyboard I was skeptical about keyboards 2002-11-07 6:02 pm Everyone was on about how great and wonderful these set boxes were going to be (this later evolved to all the IA type projects)…yet in my gut I new it wouldn’t fly. I’m get the same feeling with tablet PC’s (ever since I saw my first one years ago running with QNX4 and a Cyrix CPU at it’s core). I don’t see anything here that Microsoft has put together that has changed my mind. Ah well, time will tell whether my gut is right on this one or not. 2002-11-07 6:26 pm I can see this becoming a must have for physicians especially the wireless connectivity. It could be used during rounds to pull up patient’s charts from the database, update progress notes, order new medications and have them checked for drug interactions on the fly. You could order labs pull up previous old lab results, checkj radiology reports etc. And you could instantly send new orders into the database which would be automatically routed to the lab or pharmacy. MD’s have been very enthusiastic adopters of Palm Pilots and I can see hospitals shell out the money to set up a system using this. It would save a lot of time, money and paperwork. I hope the handwriting recognition is up to par because doctors are notorious for having bad handwriting. 2002-11-07 6:58 pm As for settop boxes is concern, no serious contenders, except Microsoft, TiVo and RePlay (name?) have entered the market. The IA market? Just abouyt every hardware company from Intel to 3COM. The IA idea might worked out but no IA ever took advantage of the whole Internet (for example, only a few supported Flash). Set top boxes on the other hand is geared towards VCR replacements. 2002-11-07 6:59 pm I’d like to direct your attention to commercial X servers and towards http://www.agendacomputing.de and the strides made by the sharp zaurus opie is coming along fairly well. there are implementations that are up to par with the gesture recognition project at MS . the implementation of them in commercial products are lacking. and for the price, you can get a DT-300 for 200-600 USD … 2002-11-07 7:01 pm samsung has a new settop box in the works wich is based on linux, and being implemented by VA and a certain well famous E developer. 2002-11-07 9:08 pm Why do people seem to think that this should cost $1000 less? It’s a laptop with added functionality, thus, it should cost MORE than a laptop, not less. This is a FULL BLOWN PC with a FULL BLOW version of WindowsXP on it, with the extra inking software. BeIA was very different, it was more of an appliance (hince, IA standing for Internt Appliance), TabletPC is essentially a replacement for the laptop. BeIA devices didn’t have handwriting recognition, or any digital inking technology. It didn’t have the full featureset that WinXP has, etc…. So DO NOT compare it to this. 2002-11-07 9:20 pm Some have a concern that typing is faster than handwriting, etc… However, when you actually think about the people who are going to use this product, it is a non-issue. Simply, it’s much easier to take notes in a metting, or at a class, hand-written than trying to type it all out. You simply do not get the organization with typing that you can with hand-writing. There is also the ability to search hand-written notes, which is a GREAT feature, in my opinion. 2002-11-07 9:40 pm @ CPUGuy Why do people seem to think that this should cost $1000 less? It’s a laptop with added functionality, thus, it should cost MORE than a laptop, not less. It’s a laptop minus the keyboard. [i]This is a FULL BLOWN PC with a FULL BLOW version of WindowsXP on it, with the extra inking software.[i] Bingo you just said it yourself. This gadget was made up with off the shelf parts. Absolutely no R&D (aka innovation) was needed to make this. Therefore hardware costs are the same has a PC. 2002-11-08 10:52 am I wouldn’t buy one, not with them being a new technology and all, plus…linking them up to other devices seems like a chore, not everybody has wireless. If this is suposed to kickstart the industry then i’m sorry, i think i will put my money elsewhere. If this is so good, why isn’t apple investing in some similar device, imagine all the design artists working off site sitting in locals designing. When it comes to quality i would buy an apple first. Plus another damper, the tablets only run XPee, so that means the MS tax is applied to ALL TABLETS unless a nix distro is designed to take advantage so that Dell will sell them to businesses. Try getting the tablets WITHOUT XP anyway, doubtful. I wish i could of still got one of those linux mira’s from a few weeks back. 2002-11-08 3:59 pm Ronald: Ok, so the inking technology is something you can just buy off the shelf? Or how about a touch-screen LCD? It’s a laptop plus inking software…. AND there are formfactors available that allow you to have a clamshell type notebook that twists around into a tablet, so that pretty much negates your whole comment. Instead of wasting everyones time by bashing Microsoft, why don’t you try and d something constructive? 2002-11-08 5:43 pm Hey, I never said Tablet PC’s hand recogniction was good – I never tried it. I seen demos, but never spend time with it (at least an hour with it). I can’t really compare it with other products I have never used too. Sorry, but you missed my point. 2002-11-08 5:47 pm I never used a set top box before in my life, the closest I came to it is that Windows thingy. But I haven’t tried it. Again, not in a liberty to compare. The cloest thing I have tried to a set top box is a TiVo, but these stuff doesn’t work with Malaysian TVs. (they, here, are just overglofied hard disks plus a TV record card). 2002-11-08 9:15 pm @ CPUGuy Ronald: Ok, so the inking technology is something you can just buy off the shelf? Or how about a touch-screen LCD? You bet! I’ve seen so many. Most CRT Touch Screen vendors sell the LCD ones too. As for the inking technologie well… It’s all stuff that’s been sitting on someone’s shelves at MS HQ. Instead of wasting everyones time by bashing Microsoft, why don’t you try and d something constructive? You’re the only person’s time that’s seemingly wasted. After all, I’m not forcing you to respond right?