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Computing: So Much For Tablet PCs
Sunday, 2004 February 22 - 5:02 pm
Microsoft insisted the Tablet PC would be revolutionary. PC makers bought into the hype, and now they're paying the price.

A year or so ago, there was lots of buzz in the PC community about how Tablet PCs would take the market by storm, just as notebooks did. And there was lots of buzz in the Apple community (and among Apple analysts) decrying the fact that Apple was not jumping onto the Tablet PC bandwagon.

Now, with the Tablet PC market fizzling, people are wondering: what happened? But I always knew that Tablet PCs would be a bust, for these reasons:

- Tablet PCs need to be able to last all day on a single battery charge, even under constant use. It's no good to be able to hold a tablet in my hand if I have to be tethered to an AC outlet.
- Tablet PCs need to be really rugged, rugged enough to toss around blithely without worry of breakage or data corruption.
- Tablet PCs need to be very light, like a kilogram or less, or I'm going to get tired of lugging it around all day.
- Tablet PCs need to be something I can strap to myself somehow. Since they're too expensive to leave lying around, I need a hands-free way of carrying it with me.

Today's Tablet PCs fail on all of these requirements, and that's why no one wants them.

I think the future is going to look more like an oversized Palm Pilot rather than a keyboard-less notebook. Something about the size of a book, with really good handwriting recognition, long battery life, a durable case... oh yeah, someone already invented that ten years ago: it was called the Apple Newton.

Apple keeps saying they don't want to be in the PDA business... and right now, they're smart to stay out of a market with such razor-thin margins. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if they were the first computer maker to implement the Tablet PC successfully.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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