We’ve seen lots of announcements and improvements from Microsoft and Tablet
PC OEMs over the past few months.
Of course, Windows XP Service Pack 2 was the big release, but what many don’t
realize is that SP2 also includes major upgrades for the Tablet PC Edition and
the Media Center Edition. On October 12, Microsoft also released Media Center
Edition 2005 and Windows Media Player 10. As this column is supposed to be about
Tablet PCs, if you want more information on Media Center upgrades and models,
Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes Tablet PC Edition 2005. You’ll find some
great improvements for Tablet PCs. Handwriting recognition was good before. Now,
it’s excellent! Even some whose handwriting is normally illegible have
proclaimed that they’re amazed that it’s being read correctly.
The much-improved Tablet Input Panel can be undocked so a small tab is all
that’s taking up screen space when the pen’s cursor is in an ink-aware field.
Until you’re actually ready to write, it’s almost invisible. Tap or point at it
and the input panel opens. You’ll also find an option to use the writing pad, a
character recognizer or the onscreen keyboard. In addition, each written word
can be checked against the text before inserting. You’ll find more improvements
in other options, such as being able to insert “http://”,”.com”, “.net” and
.”org” with a single tap. It makes a Tablet PC much easier to use when browsing.
There’s also better integration with Office 2003. Full details of Windows XP
Tablet PC Edition 2005 can be found on Microsoft’s site at
The Recognizer Pack for 2005 has recently been released. Windows XP Tablet PC
Edition 2005 Recognizer Pack enables you to convert handwriting from digital ink
to typed text in multiple languages on the same Tablet PC. The following
language handwriting recognizers are included in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
2005 Recognizer Pack: Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), U.S. English,
U.K. English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. For more
information or to download the recognizer pack, go to
One of the big stories in the Tablet PC community is the release of the
Averatec Tablet PC. The biggest news is the price. At less than $1300, this is
the lowest-priced Tablet PC available today. It’s not just low-priced, but
includes a built-in optical drive, until now only available in the larger and
heavier convertibles. It’s an excellent machine for students who want a notebook
in the dorm but a Tablet PC in the classroom, or for anyone looking for a lower
priced Tablet PC. I’m hoping to do a review of this unit soon.
Another release was the View Anywhere screen now available in Motion
Computing’s Tablet PC, the Motion M1400. If you’re planning on using a Tablet PC
outdoors or in bright lighting, make sure you purchase a product that has the
viewability option. I use my Motion constantly and can attest to the viewability
in any lighting, bright or dark. If you want specs and comparisons on these or
any other models, take a look at
Fujitsu has announced a couple of new updates to its Tablet PC offerings as
well. The Stylistic ST5020 includes a 1.1 Ghz Intel Pentium M processor and a
6-cell battery for up to 6 hours computing time. Designed for security, the
ST5020 includes a biometric fingerprint swipe sensor, and the Trusted Platform
Module (TPM). TPM is a powerful, embedded security system that protects
sensitive data from unauthorized users and enables secure authentication.
Stay tuned for more next month!