Welcome to Reviews OnLine: Microsoft Tablet PC Launch: Using the Tablet PC
Event
Contents
Reviews
News
Archives
 
Laying on of the Hands:
Touching the Tablet PC
by Stephen R.Jones (December 17, 2002)

After the Chicago launch of Windows XP for Tablet PCs, I experienced the next generation of Tablet PCs in action during a brief "test drive".

The first thing you can't help to notice in this era of 14" and 15" notebook screens, is the smaller 10" touch-screen of the Tablet PC. Somehow, all of the Microsoft demos didn't manage to mention this particular "spec". I did realize, however, that once the Tablet PC is propped comfortably on one arm, the smaller size was quite satisfactory, because I held it closer to me. The "effective" size of the Tablet PC is quite similar to larger computer systems, because the distance between my eyes and the Tablet PC screen is much shorter than the typical "arm's length" distance when using either a desktop or laptop, because the Tablet PC doesn't require an interceding keyboard.

The ViewSonic unit's weight (around 3 pounds) was a happy surprise to the point that anything less might have felt flimsy or less stable when balanced on my forearm. The pressure sensitive stylus was quite responsive and utterly natural. Drawing diagrams within the Journal application was totally intuitive and its nuanced reaction to varying degree of pressure immediately makes you want to forget that you ever even thought about drawing with a mouse. As far as recognition goes -- well -- we'll see. In my very limited experiments turning scribbles into text resulted in utter gibberish. Without more time with this device, it was hard to determine if my results were typical.

It was apparent that applications and even the OS itself needs to be tuned carefully for stylus input. For example, clicking the stylus to perform a mouse click, requires you to first point the stylus on the screen and then push its tip into the screen. Due to the Tablet PC's smooth surface, this action almost always results in a tiny glide across the screen that can sometimes be interpreted as a click-drag operation, instead of a simple click. This kind of stutter was obvious even in the hands of Microsoft demonstrators along with another problem -- lack of click feedback. Perhaps a click sound or even a momentary animation will evolve, as a configuration option, much like "cursor-trails" became an option for early laptops. Overall, the direct WYSIWYG feel of the pen and the one-to-one connection between input and display far, far outweigh any of these minor hiccups.

The Tablet PC interface is a delightfully superior way to work with a personal computer.

Copyright 2002 Stephen R. Jones All rights reserved.

   
Article Indexes
  Products Index
  People Index
  Events Index

Product Briefs
Desktop PCs & Servers
  Ergo Thunder Brick 2
Eizo FlexScan Displays
Future Power epower
HP NetServer LXr 8500
Meridian Snap! Server
Digital Cameras
  3Com HomeConnect
Agfa ePhoto 780c
Canon A5 Zoom
Kodak DC265
Minolta 3D 1500
Nikon D1
Olympus C2000
Sharp VN-EX1U MPEG4
Toshiba PDR-M4 & M5
Notebooks & Mobile
  3Com Palm VII
Fosa Mini Notebook
Pionex Elite
Quantex Celeron Laptop
Sharp Actius PC-A250
Sony F250/F290 Notebooks
Talontek MPC-2000
Mobile/Wireless Communications
  3Com 56K GSM Modem
Novatel Merlin Modem
Xircom Ethernet CompactCard
Mobile Software
  Etak Traffic Touch
DataViz Documents To Go
Softbook E-book System
Scanners
  Agfa SnapScan Touch
Visioneer Strobe Pro
Printers
  Brother MP-21 C Portable
Tektronix Phaser 780
Xerox 480cx
Software & Books
  Avid Cinema for Windows
Caere PageKeeper Pro
Corex Area Code Fix
Docent Outliner
Macmillan Office 2K Books
Paragon FoneSync
Symantec pcAnywhere 9.0
Sybari Antigen 5.5
V-Communications AutoSave
Projectors
  InFocus 330
Mitsubishi S120
Internet
  Club Photo
Intelliquis Traffic Builder
NETSilicon NET+Works
Panasite Web Builder
PhotoHighway.com
SuperCalendar.com
Storage
  Calluna 250 Mb PCCard
Castlewood 2.2Gb ORB
Iomega Clik!
Teac CD-W 54E
Batteries & Power
  Duracell Ultra Battery
Electrofuel PowerPad
Eveready Energizer ACCU
Graphics & Video
  Belkin USB Video Bus
Daeyang VR Headset
Kodak/Intel Picture CD
Nogatech USB TV
Number Nine SR9
Peripherals
  Logitech Cordless mouse
Raritan Switchman
Targus USB MiniMouse
 
 
Reviews OnLine Contents About Reviews OnLine Site Index Search Reviews OnLine Site Index Search Reviews OnLine