Itís that time of year when weíre thinking about gift-giving.
For this monthís column, Iíve asked some friends and colleagues what theyíd like to receive as a holiday gift. Here are some of the responses Ė some specifically for Tablet PCs and some that will work for any techie on your list.
Almost everyone seems to want more portability, yet at the same time, even more features. Thatís a combination thatís hard to come by, at least if a battery is to last more than an hour or so.
One of the gifts I frequently heard mentioned was a Tablet PC. Maybe it was because they know how much I love Tablets, but I think itís because Tablets are gaining in popularity all the time. Almost every month a new record in sales is set and more OEMs are building Tablet PCs. A Tablet makes a great gift for anyone who uses a computer away from the desktop. The handwriting recognition is so much improved with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 that itís amazing to see what it can recognize.
Portable keyboards make a lot of sense with the slate model Tablets. Bluetooth models are great. Other wireless models are available, too, as are USB keyboards. Some of the portable models even fold up for maximum portability.
Extra storage is high on the wish list. There are many portable hard drives, and the prices are dropping as thereís more to choose from. If youíre looking for something to stuff a stocking, and he doesnít need that much extra space, one of the new, larger capacity pen drives makes a great gift. Again, thereís a lot of choice in brands, so pick the one you like the best.
One of the best gifts Iíve ever received has been the Cross pen. Itís as much of a status symbol for Tablet users as it is for executives. It just feels right in my hand. Others who have tried it, want one for themselves.
Tablet PC cases are a great idea, especially those with a shoulder strap for easily transporting them when not in use. The Tablet is easily accessible for use yet fully-protected while moving around. There are also small cases available that keep all those wires and cables organized and ready for use yet take up very little room in a briefcase.
For road warriors, a good quality computer case with wheels and enough room for all the things they need to take on a trip with enough room for an overnight change of clothes was a another request. One that has a removable case for easily carrying a Tablet to a client or a branch office is a good idea. I just got back from a trip using my new RoadWired Roadster Convertible and I canít say enough good things about this case. I carried three Tablets in it as well as everything else I needed to use them, including a couple of portable keyboards and all the necessary connections, etc.
One of the most underused functions of a Tablet PC is speech recognition. This can really speed up everyday tasks. A good headset with microphone is a must for the most success with speech.
Software is always a good choice and thereís a wide choice perfect for a Tablet PC. Some are fun, and some are functional - everything from games to portable email programs that allow quick synchronization with your desktop. If you know a student using a Tablet PC, check out a program that allows him to easily keep track of his class assignments and organize projects.
If youíd like some help with suggestions, Iíve reviewed many Tablet products over the past couple of years. Youíll find some of the best at http://thetabletpc.net/editorsfavorites.htm.
Whatís at the top of my list? Itís not available, and probably not even on the drawing board, but I keep hoping that somewhere out there, someone is designing a Tablet PC Media Center with my name on it. J
Next month, Iíll be writing about the Microsoftís Think in Ink contest winners.
Best wishes for a very happy season and a healthy new year!