Tablet PCs

Updated October 5th, 2006


Tablet PCs are an alternative to laptops for those requiring more flexibility inputting data. Two designs are available. The convertible is useable as a laptop and typically has a screen that flips around exposing the screen on what would otherwise be the outside of the device. The slate-type of tablet is a more compact, lightweight version which does not typically come with a keyboard at all, except if docked in an optional docking station.


Tablets otherwise are fully functional computers running a special version of Windows XP designed just for them. Microsoft Office version 2003 also has tablet extensions that take advantage of handwritten and recorded audio inputs and makes those part of the document. One optionally can choose to have Optical character recognition (OCR) software interpret your handwriting and turn it into typewritten text. Microsoft Vista also has tablet features prominent within it. All of these features make tablets an interesting alternative to laptops.



Tablet PCs were announced in the year 2002. By the end of 2003 about 500,000 units were sold. It started out mostly a Microsoft initiative and is still driven mostly by the tablet edition of the Windows operating system and a growing list of tablet applications.By November 2003 twenty six companies were offering Table PCs.

User experiences seem favourable although many expressed concerns about the perceived flimsiness and change in work habits. Problems have been cited with fingerprints visible on the screen, glare in certain lighting conditions, hardware problems to do with the pivoting of the screen and heat, not just with the unit on your lap but with your hand resting on it. It is fair to note that these problems are not unique to just tablets but laptops as well. (Fingerprints on the screen are far less of a problem on tablets.) The optical character recognition seems to be pretty good, out-of-the-box, but comments were made that owners feel they are more efficient typing. Electronic ink, as itís called, seems to be a hit with presenters.


Preferred Features

After some evaluation those of us looking into tablets zeroed in on the features we appreciated the most and identified the following as preferable.


Just a few comments from user experiences on the internet as well as my own:

Some of the problems that became apparent include:

Pluses of tablets over laptops include:

References : Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition


Created by: Manfred Grisebach, IST Ė Systems, Last modified October 5th, 2006 †††