Photo by Marcin WicharyThe Tablet PC Windows version, in Microsoft’s own words, is a Slate computer optimized for mobility and designed as a light weight and ergonomic device. Apart from the size and shape, the key difference between these tablets and an ordinary desktop is the input device which is a pen and touch screen instead of a keyboard and mouse. Let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s inside, and see what all the fuss is about.
The things that need looking into include the usability features, applications and the reliability of the device. Then there’s also the staying power of the hardware and software technology used. This matters a great deal because this is still an evolving sector, and anything which doesn’t click within a year ends up discontinued without any support.
Obviously, Microsoft users have a lot less to worry about in this regard, because Windows is a hugely popular OS across many different platforms. Also to be noted that the initial XP version for tablets did very well. Microsoft then changed their strategy and instead of a stand-alone version for tablets, they’re now offering built in support for tablets in the regular Home/Business versions of Vista and Windows 7.
On the one hand, Tablet PC Windows users can kiss goodbye to a special Microsoft OS for tablets. But on the plus side, they’ll get updates and upgrades just like any other user on a desktop PC. Whenever Microsoft puts out a new OS, it will automatically mean tablet owners get a new one too.
Getting back to the usability and applications, Microsoft has provided some nifty additions over and above the usual mobile and lightweight model for tablets. It uses Microsoft’s Gesture Recognizer and has two tiers of gestures that can be used with the pen. Additionally, users can make use of handwriting recognition software and touch-screen mouse inputs using fingers.
The handwriting recognition software learns quickly based on the user’s input and it can be personalized. There’s a personalization tool where the user can provide samples so that the software can match it against samples and recognizes the user’s handwriting during actual use. The touch screen allows mouse input using fingers and is based on Microsoft surface technology.
There is one obvious question that must be going through many readers’ minds. How does it compare or stand up to against Apple’s iPad, Android tablets, HP’s Palm TouchPad or other tablets in the market? There’s no easy answer to that one, and it is mostly a matter of loyalty to the brand. Fanatic Apple users will stick to iTunes, iPhones and iPads no matter what, and there are similarly passionate fans for Microsoft tablets and other devices and software.
Those choosing to be Tablet PC Windows users are likely to get a product that’s rock solid and based on cutting-edge technology. Furthermore, it will continue to enjoy support and upgrades from Microsoft. Let’s just say that it may not generate as much buzz as the iPad or Android tablets, but it is just as useful and reliable, if not more.
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