Friday, November 15, 2002

Dan Bricklin: Tablet PC: First Impressions "Back in the early 1990's, I was heavily involved in the pen computing world. I co-founded Slate Corporation which developed application software for GO's Penpoint as well as Microsoft's Windows for Pen Computing and for the Apple Newton. I was exposed to software and hardware development, both at the OS and application level, and had experience using a wide variety of machines. With the release of the new Tablet PCs based upon Microsoft's new software, I felt it was appropriate for me to comment upon that, given my perspective. You will find here my comments based on my general feelings as well as actual experiences using various equipment. ...
So, one day in, my verdict: I can't see ever buying a portable laptop that isn't a convertible -- the benefits are too great for me. It's a Tablet PC, not a Pen PC, and not a Clamshell PC, and that's a win. While these are clearly still basically a version 1 or 2, they are still very useful. If you read a lot on a PC, and move your laptop around a lot, and have benefited from 802.11, and don't mind using early software that works but is basic (like the original VisiCalc was), and are in the market for a new laptop, take the next step and move up to a tablet. Corporate evaluators must start learning about these systems, because as they improve and the price difference disappears, you'll have to figure out how to configure them, what type of software to insist upon, etc. If you always wanted to do your composing with a pen, and expect handwriting to be as reliable as a keyboard, stick with the keyboard, and wait for "handwriting computing" to happen, if it ever does. It's not that important. Tablet computing is. It will make reading on a computer even more pervasive. I think Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers who were willing to take a chance trying to advance the state of mainstream personal computing are to be commended for what they've done."

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