Pin It
Favorite

Tech Tip - Tablet PC 

by Marty Demarest


We Americans want our coffees "grande," our lunches "supersized" and our mini-vans to be not-so-mini. But when it comes to technology, smaller is better. So it's no surprise that Microsoft recently rolled out what it's touting as the next development in personal computing in a tinier bundle. Called tablet PCs, these personal computers aim to do everything that a laptop computer can, but in a package that's about the size of a stack of paper.


Of course, Microsoft conveniently has a new version of Windows powering these machines -- the main difference is the incorporation of handwriting-recognition software. This is important, because while some of the tablet PCs are convertible units like Acer's TMC102T -- the screen opens like a book to reveal a keyboard, spins around, and voila, a laptop -- they all allow users to hold them in their lap and write on them with a stylus.


At a recent demonstration, Microsoft reps were quick to emphasize the notepad feature over the handwriting recognition. Converting scribbled pages to word documents is theoretically possible, but even the best programs make plenty of errors. Instead, Microsoft wants to show how the handwritten pages can be treated like any other computer document, which means formatting, e-mailing and searching. If you have atrocious handwriting, however, this isn't going to do much good.


As for the hardware, it's a mixed bag. The screens on almost all of the available units are perfectly clear and bright, and writing on them really does feel like taking notes. But while companies are stressing the "flexibility" of the new systems, it's important to recall that these ultra-slim machines are nowhere near as easy to upgrade as a desktop computer or even a laptop. And manufacturers, ever-optimistic, are advertising that battery life is around four hours. I guess they think that workdays and flights will be shrinking as well.


Even though the idea behind the technology is good, consumers are going to be skeptical. Still, prices are not impossible (around $2,000), and everything seems to work. If the tablets catche on, the next generation of software and hardware is bound to work better. However, those who invest now might have the edge as everyone else plays catch-up and starts taking notes.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Running Dry
  • Running Dry

    How Wild Waters slid from the top water park in the Inland Northwest to an abandoned ruin
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • Elson Floyd's Final Year
  • Elson Floyd's Final Year

    WSU president leaves behind a strong vision for the school's future
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • You Got Frenched!
  • You Got Frenched!

    Al French scuttles Todd Mielke's bid for county CEO; plus, a shoplifting death in Coeur d'Alene
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Costuming & Cosplay on a Budget

Costuming & Cosplay on a Budget @ Spokane Valley Library

Wed., July 1, 5-8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation