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The New Age Of The Tablet PC
By Aaron Yip
Category : Notebooks/Laptops
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 10th October, 2002

Hark! It's not another Windows

The basic pen-based concept of a Tablet PC isn't new. Such concepts have come and gone, with the exception of those seen in PDAs. So what gave Microsoft the confidence to succeed where other players have faltered? With the new Acer TravelMate C100 Tablet PC, we take a look at the fundamentals as well as the operating system behind the Tablet PC.

It's Not A Pill. It's A Tablet

On the exterior, a Tablet PC may seems just like a transformable ultra-portable notebook. That is true to a certain extent. Other than conceptualized to be light weight in design, long battery life and with wireless capabilities, a Tablet PC will have keyboards - some vendors make theirs permanently attached while others may make it detachable. We felt that the presence of a keyboard is an important one, as it ensures an easier transition for an end-user who is used to a keyboard to shift to the true "pen-and-paper" experience of a Tablet PC. More importantly, as an Acer representative told us, is that the Tablet PC will enable information workers to bring their business PC into more places than ever before - even on the same software they use on their office PC or notebook today. Workers such as sales representatives who work in temporary locations or senior executives overseeing geographically dispersed operations will optimize Tablet PCs the most - where their job may mandate moving from place to place, perhaps as supervisors on a manufacturing floor or as field-service or health-care workers.

Instant Screen Rotation & Multiple Form Factors

One cool feature of Windows XP Tablet PC is that it supports instant screen rotation without requiring a reboot, to give you the choice of using it as a portrait or landscape notebook.

Like today's notebooks, Tablet PCs can be docked at a desk to support a monitor screen, mouse and keyboard. Users will also have a wide variety of different Tablet PCs to choose from, judging from the numbers of vendors that have pledged their support to the Tablet PC's cause. To allow users to take advantage of the benefits that the Tablet PC offers whether their task is keyboard-intensive or not, there are basically two types of Tablet PC.

  • Convertible models: Convertible Tablet PCs look no different from today's standard notebooks with attached keyboards. When users want to use it in slate mode, they simply rotate the screen and lay it flat for easy note taking.

  • Slate models: Slates offer an ultra-slim and lightweight design, with the ability to easily dock the PC at a desktop to gain access to a full keyboard and mouse. Pure slates are ideal for those who spend much of their day away from their desks, or for those who do not want the additional weight of a keyboad.
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